Sunday, November 22, 2015

Three “G”s in Running a High-Performing Digital IT

Gauging IT success is about triangulating value from different lenses in building a more comprehensive IT value proposition.

Nowadays information is the lifeblood and technologies are often the innovation disruptor. The days of the invisible, back office CIO are gone - or going. The enterprise needs to see and know, what the CIO is delivering to enable business growth. IT leaders are at the unique position to oversight business processes and sees beyond the silos with an in-depth understanding of their organizations’ differentiated capabilities. Besides triple “I”s - Information, Innovation, and Integration, triple “A”s - Automation, Analysis, and Agility, triple “C”s - Change, Collaboration, and Cloudification, triple “P”s - Principle, Process, and Performance, triple “E”s Enablement, Exploration, and Effectiveness & Efficiency, triple “V”s - Vision, Value, and Variety, triple “F”s - Fast, Flow, and Flexibility; triple "T" factors - Transformation, Transparency, and Talent Management; triple “S” factors: Strategy, Speed, and Simplicity; triple “D” factors - Data, DevOp, and Design; triple “Q”s - Quality, Quantity, and Questioning, here we introduce three “G” factors in running a high-performing digital IT.

Gap Minding: IT is business, IT-business integration is strategically important for IT leaders to run a digital IT. With the increasing speed of change, many think that the gap between business and IT has actually widened. The reason is that business and IT have evolved at a different pace over the past few decades. While IT has evolved significantly in all aspects - people, process, technology - business has, and continues to evolve faster due to the “VUCA” business new normal. It is increasingly more challenging for IT to deliver to business what it wants when it wants. By the time IT is ready to deliver functionality to the business, the business needs - "needs" and not just "requirements" - have already changed. Therefore, CIOs must become true business leaders by also looking to get much closer to their company’s customers in understanding their needs, and use the 'why' to help crystallize their own companies 'what.' Few executives, if any, have the visibility across the enterprise like a CIO, to connect the dots of the business because all of those dots are internal customers of IT. IT does the connecting with business and technology solutions. IT needs to change the emphasis to an “outside-in” approach with that vital focus on users. The world has changed and operational process efficiency needs to be on agenda to see economic prosperity return for future generations. Cutting out waste such as shrinking the gap between business and IT could make a significant contribution and the sooner it starts the better it will be for all involved. Furthermore, bridging the gap between IT and the business are really issues of all about changes: the steps, processes, tools, and products that organizations use to affect the digital transformation from strategy to deployment. Bridging the gaps start with mindset. If business people really understand the issues facing the IT department and the IT people are aware of the business goals, processes, and needs., the gap could be narrowed.

Governance Practices: IT management and IT governance are interdependent disciplines. The purpose of IT management is to optimize IT resource and catalyze business growth; the goal of IT governance is to ensure making the right decisions and steering an effective and agile IT. Practically, each organization is different, hence, IT governance should be looked more holistically in an enterprise. First, understand the operating style of organization, know what view each of the CXO roles has on organizational priorities and the role they consider IT has in the organization. Then, assess IT performance. This should give a clear idea about the maturity of IT function (Sourcing Unit, Order Taker, Solution Provider, Innovation Partner, Game Changer). After that, identify IT pain point such as delayed projects, cost overrun, no innovation, no business involvement, Rogue IT – Every organization will have some quandaries with IT. So IT governance practices are to improve the maturity of IT function and the expectations business leaders have from IT, to set immediate and long-term priorities of the organization right, to optimize decision-making approach in the organization, and to ultimately transform IT from a cost center to a value creator.

Gauging IT Success: The success of IT is not for its own sake, but to ensure the entire business success. IT organizations should be able to define and align operational KPIs to strategic KPIs of business for successful tracking of the effectiveness of strategic KPIs. The effective way to track the achievement of strategic goals is to cascade those down throughout the organization with the use of operational KPIs.  It DOES mean that at the operation level, there should be some metrics that can be tied directly to achieving strategic goals so that EVERY employee knows how their role fits in and can be freed up to do what they can to try to achieve the desired strategic outcomes. Gauging IT success has a multitude of focus such as customer satisfaction, the success rate of IT delivery, the fiscal health of IT organization, and overall IT capacity and capability. IT benchmark can also play an important role in gauging IT success via horizontal APPLE-to-APPLE comparison: same business model, same industry, and within the same competition domain. But keep in mind there are no two companies are exactly alike in the same product/services/customer mix; they also vary in their investment cycle of growth and cost management. Companies have limited resources, so it is important to first measure the right things, and then measure them right. Always keep the end - business in mind, the key is context.

The strong IT governance discipline will steer IT organizations toward the journey of value-adding and high performance. Gaps filled vs. gaps open and to what degree is what you build to solve and repeatedly measure. Gauging IT success is about triangulating value from different lenses in building a more comprehensive IT value proposition. There are tangible (cost savings, efficiency, etc.) and intangible (brand equity, sales enablement, etc.) components of value. Each organization has a set of capabilities that enable it to achieve successful outcomes, whether financial, brand, or double bottom line. And more often than not, IT failure can cause the fatal failure of their business, and IT success will catalyze their organizational success from a long-term strategic perspective.


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