Wednesday, February 24, 2016

How to Leverage IT to Handle Digital Intensity?

In order to run with digital speed, IT needs to be in a more proactive mode and handle the multidimensional digital intensity seamlessly.

Organizations large and small are heading to digital transformation; IT has been pushed out of its comfort zone as a back office and become a frontrunner in business transformation. Is IT ready or what’s the competitive advantage for IT in such a transformation? Can IT play a critical role in handling the digital intensity, and ultimately become the business catalyst to drive changes?

Strategy execution intensity: A finger without a hand is akin to a strategy without execution. A strategy is a planned direction to act - without implementation, it is not complete and is probably someone's idea that got lost in the mail. IT is one of the most critical components to building business capabilities which underpin strategy execution. However, most companies are lacking a holistic strategy with IT strategy as an integral component on how they use technology to drive their business, and it's the information management strategy that most often goes under-managed. Strategic planning and execution are a continuous cycle of organizational adaptation to a changing world. One of the factors for strategies to fail at the implementation phase is its complexity. IT is the very tool to manage it and there is great value in collaborative technologies that allow for more democratic decision-making and increased collaboration and information sharing across functional departments. Digital technologies can also be very helpful in strategic analysis, and handle strategy execution intensity in a structural way.

Agile intensity: Forward-looking organizations are shifting from “doing Agile” to “being Agile,” intensively. There are many things that need to be done to make a transition to a more agile way of working. Changes in the sizing and structuring of teams, their decision making, and team members’ levels of accountability and responsibility are just a few of the paradigm shifts you will encounter throughout the transition to Agile. Overall, the mindset change is important up-front: There is a difference in agile thinking vs. conventional thinking, that behaviors which make you a hero in one culture may make you a pariah in the other. So the agile mentality is being “fearless”: And when fear is a driver for taking decisions, the next step is to use blame when things go wrong-- independently on the goodness of the behavior of the people involved. In many large-scale transitions to Agile development, fear has always been one of the major obstacles to change--fear of failure, fear of loss of control, etc. Hence, from doing agile to being agility, the digital intensity needs to be handled in the mindset level.

Innovation intensity: Digital opens the new chapter of innovation, it is no longer “nice to have,” but “must have” business capability. Innovation is similar to as "the sum is larger than its parts." At today's modern organizations, variety, complexity, diversification, and collaboration are the characteristics of the digital innovation ecosystem. Innovation often implemented via technology is one main instrument to implement your company´s strategy. If you really innovate, you will differentiate your company at the same time. Innovation is costly most of the time, that is why you should really concentrate innovation on the main issues of your strategy - intensify innovation with focus. As you innovate, you might find helpful changes to your strategy. Further, organizations can no longer rely on a single individual or team to drive innovation. This is largely due to the fact that innovating in today’s digital world has become increasingly complex in nature. Innovation is intensified via complexity syndromes and the cause-effect scenario: Innovation will happen when people are given free space to be creative without rigid structures and without holding them back. In business, complexity both drives innovation and also hinders it. When a business becomes overly complex and people get frustrated and annoyed by not being able to accomplish things easily, this drives the search for simpler concepts and methods, which is the need to take the innovative initiative. At the same time, however, over-complexity in a business may be hiding simple and innovative ways to achieve things because the people involved just don't get the time to step back from the complexity and hence, they continue to follow the old routine to do the things, lack of the out of box creativity. Either way, IT is an enabler and the tool for innovation of the business.

In order to run with digital speed, IT needs to be in a more proactive mode to not only solve the immediate problems for the bottom line but also handle more critical business issues which can directly impact business top line growth, and handle the multidimensional digital intensity seamlessly; IT talent should be not only tactical but also strategic, and IT is on the way to drive change, catalyze business growth and improve organizational efficiency, effectiveness and agility.


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