Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Digital IT Management Goes Beyond Alignment

IT continues to reach a higher level of maturity, from alignment to integration, engagement, and optimization.

IT connection with the line of the business has been a discussion and need for a long time now. It's no secret that this need is still unfulfilled and requires serious attention. Most IT organizations can barely keep up with their existing workloads to even think about ways to transform themselves. Furthermore, the concern is whether doing business-IT alignment is mature enough for IT to become a business’s strategic partner; does IT still stick to back-office, cost-center reputation, or is IT ready to transform into the higher level value center, innovation engine, and game changer? What are further expectations about IT for going beyond IT-business alignment?

IT-Business Integration: 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. IT proactively works 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 the business’s requirement or tailor customer’s needs. IT should facilitate business partners with the right solutions and help to implement them. Neither of these is wrong or right and choosing which is best should be dependent solely on the situation at hand. It takes time, vision, and the willingness drive to change. While companies recognize the need for IT to integrate into the business, it is a task that eludes many organizations. The sustained change will require cultural changes at all levels. Most of all, everyone must be willing to commit. It takes a very concerted and organized effort and a strong desire on both sides to make it happen. Over communication is a key. It also generally starts at the top with senior executives leading the way by setting the goals and strategy and ensuring that they are adhered to through measurement and metrics. Keep the focus on communication. Making sure every move in putting action to non-core and core initiatives are properly communicated to IT and beyond in a systematic way.

IT Engagement: IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. Some leading companies already move beyond IT/business alignment stage, well jump into IT engagement era. and the new mission of IT could be: How to become a game changer to catalyze business growth through proactively engaging in strategic making  and execution. IT has moved from providing largely back-office support to becoming the prime facilitator, enabler, and orchestrator of the total business. An effective IT organization should more focus on vendor/customer relationship management, process optimization, project portfolio management, governance, business Intelligence/analytics, and make an influence on the culture/change management via the technology enabled platform, to create differentiated business capabilities and bridge today and tomorrow of the business. In addition, the real paradox is that IT depends on the business to define their technology requirements but the business does not understand the capabilities of technology and it is difficult for them to provide functional requirements for applications. In order to engage in the business more proactively, IT needs to understand business problems and provide consultation and recommendations to the business on how to leverage technology in problem solving and innovation.

IT Optimization: IT is about using technology to lower costs, improve operations, and increase revenue. Effective IT management means understanding every island of operation and every workflow process. It is through this comprehensive understanding that a CIO would be able to identify true cost savings, workflow optimizations, and additional revenue opportunities. IT Transformation is on the horizon to improve IT Maturity. The paradigm shift from IT being a reactive, engine room culture to one that is agile and develops the capabilities to drive business growth and perpetual improvement. It might include things like portfolio rationalization, enterprise architecture roadmaps, operational reliability metrics / dashboard and human capital management strategy.

IT continues to reach a higher level of maturity, from alignment to integration, engagement, and optimization. IT Transformation is the journey to pursue business effectiveness and agility, to enable operational excellence, new service/product innovation, customer experience optimization and employees satisfaction, which are the pillars in building a high-performance enterprise and the ultimate goal of the digital transformation.


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