Thursday, June 23, 2016

“CIO Master” Book Tuning XXXXXIV: The Interdisciplinary Practice to Manage IT and Business

Interdisciplinarity enables leaders to frame a bigger thinking box and approach problems via multi-faceted way.

Businesses today are shifting from the industrial silo fashion to the hyper-connected digital trend. The business management technique also shifts from hierarchical command and control style to holistic management practices. The Interdisciplinary science can be applied to digital management with integrating multi-disciplinary methodology, it enables leaders to frame a bigger thinking box, and approach problems via multi-faceted way, technically, scientifically and culturally.

Non-linearity: There are two different philosophical approaches for managing businesses; in the industrial era, the majority of organizations apply reductionism separate the business into different functions, run them in a linear way; or break a problem into parts, solve each part separately, add up results, this approach can achieve the certain level of business efficiency. However, the hyper-connectivity nature of digital breaks down the functional, geographical, or even organizational border, businesses today become much nonlinear, interconnected and interdependent than ever. Therefore, the positive approach comes from attempting to isolate and understand the dynamics of the individual functions in the enterprise, some of which for the time frame will be as good as linear, but more often, the organization as a whole has to function more holistically and coherently. When systems are not linear, they are defined as nonlinear. It is necessary to integrate their interdependencies if they exist, hence, holism -the whole is different from the sum of the parts need to become the management philosophy to run today’s business.  

Adaptability, unrepeatability, unpredictability: Digital also means the rapidly change, with an unprecedented level of unrepeatability and unpredictability. The ability of companies to consume and make sense of the information that is available to make good decisions within today’s digital dynamic is becoming a nearly insurmountable challenge. The problem to be solved is to deal with this mountain of information with both technology and human know-how, then to convert the information into valuable knowledge and precious insight in handling business uncertainty more effectively. While there is always some remaining uncertainty, reducing the uncertainty, particularly if one broadly involves the organization, leads to better decisions / strategic plans and better implementation. This does not ensure success, but it does raise the probability of success.

Strategy-execution continuum: Digital strategy needs to be more dynamic in order to capture the emergent opportunities - admit those disruptive events may occur. Learn to stay alert and to observe with subtlety and learn fast. It’s about agile strategy-execution continuum. It's not all about "making a strategy" as end-product, but about implementing it afterward. It is also about communicating about the quality of the strategy, saying openly what is known and what is not. the challenges, competition & complexities may be on the increase but along with it, there comes the increase in opportunity and in the form of demand. For most of organizations, they still do have contexts of relative certainty, while simultaneously having contexts reflecting both complexity and chaos. Each of these contexts requires a different management approach. There are two important things that will be important in the interdisciplinary management. First, it is gaining the knowledge necessary to understand and manage holistic digital ecosystems. Secondly, the most challenging one is to understanding how the people factor affects the business system-and-then managing the complex system and the people of the complex system. Understand that dynamic business development is multifaceted. You can't expect an individual to fully develop such broad-based concepts, it takes the team effort, and more importantly, team coordination.

The purpose of managing business via interdisciplinary discipline is to ensure that the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces. To engage and function in complex environments, it requires fundamentally different mindsets and paradigms such as accepting that influence is attainable, but control is not. It needs to leverage information to overcome uncertainty and unpredictability, and it takes a holistic approach to unleash the digital potential of today’s organization.


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