Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Multitude of IT Management

IT needs to build all different management capabilities and play a different role to the situation at hand.

Digital IT is impacting every business unit and is becoming the very driver of business change. It is not just about the fancy new tools or the help desk with monolithic hardware, one of the fundamental goals of running a high-effective IT is to ensure the right people to get the right information at the right time to make the right decisions. From a management perspective, what are the focal points and priorities IT leaders and management need to work on for running a high-performing organization in a systematic way?



Performance Management: As Drucker wisely put, “you can only manage what you measure.” Therefore, it’s important to measure IT value which truly matters for businesses. It’s dangerous to impose metrics just because the focus on what’s measurable is manageable. Distinguish between quantitative and qualitative performance objectives/KPIs.  There are indeed qualitative objectives in which the basis for rating performance is the set of criteria that address the question: “what does it mean to achieve this objective?” In some cases, these may also be action plans. Keep them focused on drivers of performance and, appropriately weighted. Further, to populate the scorecard with too many metrics for the sake of measurement is also unproductive. KPIs and the associated metrics drive priorities and behaviors. Selecting the right KPIs is one of the most important steps in measurement and overall performance management.


Change Management: Digitization on itself often requires huge cultural change. If digitization does not succeed in changing the mindset, beliefs, and behaviors of management, the change efforts will be deemed to fail. Hence, Change Management is seldom effective, because many companies try to build the highly valued building before ensuring there is a sufficient "foundation" to support them. In addition, look at problems in a proactive way to make the right policies. If an organization really needs substantial change, it is because the leadership has not provided the necessary factors of success.  It’s the question every change leader should ask himself/herself almost every month, if not week. And there is no need to look at it in a reactive mode as a ‘problem,’ but it would be desirable to look at it proactively and have a ‘policy,’ to catalyze changes. Therefore, select potentials, reform them, then go by such multiplicators. So if you have the right balanced insight, knowledge, and experience needed to create trust and confidence and believe that we are all in this together in the same boat, then employees should not show resistance, and then you can utilize tools to help with efficiency, communication, structure and control, but you need to get the basics right first.


Process Management: Strong business processes have better chance to deliver a better result. Therefore, process management is not a one-time project, but a tough journey that the senior executives should understand and navigate through, because processes underpin business capabilities, and capability underpin strategy execution. Important business processes reviewed regularly, refined regularly and is transparent across the business should help bring into alignment most of the key parts of the business. However, many organizations do not have alignment between strategic intentions and their ability to execute those intentions. "Digitizing" the BPM thinking is a must; because it brings not just automation with improved efficiency but real time measurement which allows real empowerment of people and this opens a new door. So it is up to new pioneers/challengers to create the supporting software that addresses these issue bringing simplicity and power to the business in their language….quickly delivering tangible added value to the business.


IT Project Portfolio Management: IT is the business. There should be no such thing as IT Projects. Each level of business transformation management -portfolio, program and project management should focus on different business objectives but works cohesively to deliver business value with effectiveness and efficiency. Project management is doing things right, focus on delivering a tangible outcome from an individual project; The result is that organizations deliver projects on time and within budget, but the value delivered from those projects is not optimized or aligned to the organization’s strategy. Program management is the intermediate layer that is focused on the delivery of business benefits through the identifying interdependence of a series of interrelated projects. Portfolio management is doing right things via the focus on the decision-making process around which programs and projects should be executed based on their alignment with the goals and objectives of the organization, and therefore, getting increasingly further attention with large organizations that have poor visibility and control over their project portfolio. Once you start treating projects that way and measure success of business project portfolio as a whole, rather than keeping technology ones separate with silo thinking, ensure that all business units required for the success of the project have requirement clearly defined with engaged stakeholders and with senior business leaders on the steering committee, you will see success of all projects increase and keep running the healthy IT portfolio to make continuous delivery.


Quality Management: As a degree of quality is in everything people do and experience. People as the actors in the quality process determine the extent to which the business desire to achieve quality. What is required is clarifying the purpose and engaging all the people involved working together as a team to excel in the delivery of product/service, because quality management is to help them in doing what they are doing better, easier and cost efficient, this is particularly critical for IT because statistically it has low project success rate and is often struggling with overloading tasks and under staff challenges. The principles of quality depend on the people employing them. In order to get quality out of anything whether it is people or process, you need to provide investment, dedication, and commitment. Quality is not one specific department's job, it's the holistic management discipline, and you have to continuously improve upon it.


Talent Management: People are the most critical asset in organizations and digital is the age of people. Business is also moving from treating talent as the human resource to thinking talent as human capital, not just the cost, but the investment for the future, and from extended research, there are clear linkages between strategic talent practices and improved corporate performance. The speed of business is accelerated; the talent demand for IT department is also never ending. However, the crux of the problems is that IT tends to employ the wrong people, and HR often plays 'buzzword bingo' because they don’t really understand what they have been tasked to the source. Besides hiring the right people, retaining great people, and measuring knowledge workers' performance is perhaps more tougher than measuring IT performance, because there are so many variables and intangible factors to leverage, traditional competency model more focuses on quantified result, with ignorance of qualified or innovative effort; or only measure short-term productivity, without enough consideration of long term skill set matching, Therefore, bridging skill/capability gaps and innovating talent performance management is one of the significant challenges facing IT management.


IT Budget/Finance Management: With the accelerated digital speed, IT faces the pressure to transform from a cost center to value creator. Therefore, it is more critical than ever to keep IT fit and run a financially healthy digital IT. However, in the well-established typical enterprise, 70% of their IT budget is being spent on “keep the lights on” activities, leaving only 30% available for innovation. That is perhaps the very reason the majority of IT organizations are running in a reactive mode and stick to the lower level of IT maturity. Corporate IT has no choice but to embrace transformational change or literally face extinction. IT leaders need to strike the right balance of “run, grow and transform,” and from the budgeting perspective, continue to figure out what’s an ideal ratio to both “keep the light on” and drive innovation and business growth.

IT needs to build all different management capabilities and play a different role to the situation at hand. What should be focused on is the integration of IT into the business decisions and processes, IT involves co-creating business strategy. This will allow IT to shine in both roles –as enabler and driver. With the multitude of manageability, IT can proactively work as an integral part of the business to capitalize on opportunity via leading the transformation, or IT delivers the best solution to the business problems which meet business’s requirement or tailor customer’s needs.

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