Friday, March 11, 2016

Running IT as a Business Multiplier

IT as a business multiplier can improve organizational agility, accelerate speed, and catalyze innovation.

Many IT organizations are on the journey to transform from a cost center to a value creator, from a commodity service provider to an innovation engine. The word "transformation" in itself often means radical change and change for the better - new ways and methods of doing things, new structures, new relationships etc. There are changes in two shapes from IT management perspective: One is internal where IT transforms, and the second where IT helps to transform or change the business in line with new strategic imperatives. Change is not for its own sake, but to maximize IT value and ideally, running IT as a business multiplier.


To accelerate strategy execution and improve business agility: Most companies expect their CIOs to lead the technical vision and achieve the strategic value of IT to be a business enabler and even a “multiplier” to accelerate business growth and digital transformation. Therefore, forward-thinking organizations engage their CIOs in corporate strategic planning. In a progressive company that embraces technology and value information, a highly strategic and innovative CIO will fit in. IT Transformation is an integral part of the business transformation. In short, it means understanding the "As is" position of the business and the role IT plays in it and identifying the desirable "To be" state. The next step is to build and execute a strategy and the associated change programs that enable the "To be" state to be achieved, and a set of processes and activities that keep it dynamic. IT as a multiplier will enable operational excellence, business agility, new service/product innovation, customer experience optimization and employees satisfaction, which are five pillars in building a high-performance enterprise and the ultimate goal of digital transformation.


Optimize business processes: IT is in a unique position to oversee business processes which underpin business capabilities. To speed up business speed and compete in a global marketplace, business unit leaders need IT to ensure the availability and reliability of their business process automation tools/technology, so their staff can function as efficiently as promised, back when they justified the tool purchase. Business process management is also an approach to optimize cost. In fact, many organizations have little insight into their cost structures and who is consuming the assets. They have no idea where they are spending their money on and often assume it is mainly being spent on items which are actually much lower on the list. Every IT finance group can capture costs, but the challenge is to have visibility and traceability between costs and the assets consuming those costs. Hence, the leadership team needs IT to be the business process optimization expert for the company, to find creative sources of competitive advantages, to better compete in a global marketplace.


Retool organizational culture: Culture eats strategy for breakfast. The paradigm shifts from IT being a reactive, engine room culture to one that is agile and develops the capabilities to drive business growth and perpetual improvement. From an organizational perspective, business culture is perhaps the most invisible, but powerful fabric surrounding organization. The superior culture can even lift up an average strategy and expedite strategy execution, but a bad culture will fail a superior strategy. IT can become a culture shaper because it is in a unique position to well align people, process and the latest technology to empower talented employees, enforce communication, enable cross-functional collaboration, enhance governance, retool organizational culture for achieving high business performance potential, and running IT as a multiplier.


Technology is pervasive and the information is abundant. Business initiatives and digital transformation today nearly always involves some form of technology implementation and/or data analysis; IT touches both hard business processes and soft human behaviors. IT has the necessary structure/ methodology/tool in shaping the new box of thinking and managing emergent digital complexities with the new characteristics such as hyper-connectivity, hyper-diversity, and hyper-dynamism, IT also needs to help the business build unique competency, as a business multiplier to improve organizational agility, accelerate speed, and catalyze innovation.

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