Friday, April 29, 2016

CIO Master Book Tuning XXi: Three “Aha Moment” of an Innovative IT

IT can become a true innovation engine when it can not only grasp new business opportunities, but also discover and grow more innovators to multiply creativity effect.

IT must be managed in two ways; the utility side of the house where IT constantly drives costs lower; the second being business innovation which is the only way to lift IT from commoditized service to strategic partner; from the cost center to value creator; and from the reactive service provider to the proactive game changer. IT sustenance and business innovation are on every CIO's roadmap, especially in the well-established enterprises. What are the “Aha Moment” of IT to transform itself as an innovation engine and create a new competitive advantage for the organization?

The moment that IT “Smells the business growth Opportunity”: Too often IT is not involved at a goal level but instead at a task level. This creates an environment where the IT folks focus less on the strategic goals and more on the rules and processes that are defined for their department. Nowadays, technology is often the innovation disruptive force, and the information is one of the most invaluable assets in business. IT is often at the right position to oversee business processes and build business competency, to both recognize growth opportunity as well as diagnose early risks. Every opportunity has the risk in it, and every risk could also have the opportunity in it. IT and the business need to work together in the planning process. This is becoming ever more important, due to increasing speed of changes and continuous digital disruption. IT needs to 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, smell growth opportunity and identify the critical business issues by working closely with a business partner from a long-term perspective, and leverage technology to manage innovation across the enterprise boundary. IT leaders need to identify the issues associated with innovation in an enterprise and actually have developed a unique model and platform for open innovation. Therefore, IT needs to become business’s innovation engine, rather than just tools.

The moment to “Capture Customer Insight”: Digital is the age of customers. It’s important for IT to be more innovative from an outside-in customer’s lens. Customer inquiries are not just support related, but can foster new and better ways the application can perform and optimize every touch point of customer experience. Focusing on customer needs should be an easier path to grow the innovation fruit. To run an innovative IT, it’s critical to listen, comprehend and understand the people and the business they are part of, before embarking on any new way of thinking to know where you have come from enables you to move to a new place even quicker. If you're going to innovate without knowledge of "evident customer needs," then "the things that you are good at may distract you to build something which can really increase customer value and help business success for the long term. Business information is the very clue to understanding every step of customer purchasing, and technology is digitizing every touch point of customer experience. Through catching customer insight and understanding their need, IT can reinvent itself as a customer champ and see it as an opportunity to reboot IT mentality as the “digital brain” of the business.

The moment to “Spot talented innovators”: Creativity is the #1 wanted skill for the digital workforce, this is particularly true for IT professionals because technology is often the innovation driver and IT professionals are innovation harbingers. The forward-looking organizations always look for innovators, or the talent with leadership potential, who can make a positive influence. Both information and technology are not for its own sake, but to discover the new and better way to do things, it’s the means to the end. The innovators are likely to make a change to the structure for better problem solving. These are IT talent people who can think differently, always shape the new box of thinking, mind the gap of the traditional way to solve the problems, establish insight into approach and style in different situations. The IT workplace needs to be designed to build a culture of innovation, and help employees at all levels within an organization, from leaders to front-line, understand and develop their creative capacity to solve problems and exploit opportunities in new and innovative ways. There is no a global or universal solution to building innovation and creativity at the organizational level. It’s business leaders’ responsibility to establish an environment with a high-risk tolerance, where people can grow and develop, be curious and creative without fear. It’s about management that can strike the right balance between increasing productivity and encouraging innovation; between setting standard and let “out-of-box” thinking flow; between risk management and risk tolerance; between discovering the new way to do things and “we always do things like that.” IT can become a true innovation engine when it can not only grasp new business opportunities, but also discover and grow more innovators to multiply creativity effect and unleash its innovation potential.

An innovative and value-driven IT needs to understand stakeholders’ expectations and propose an innovation solution portfolio that corresponds to both demand and cost drivers with a focus on business priority, IT develops the professional competencies needed for successful business solution delivery, IT captures organizational knowledge to continuously improve performance, and harness innovation, ultimately improve the organizational level efficiency, effectiveness, agility, and maturity.





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