Friday, June 3, 2016

"CIO Master" Book Tuning XXXXVI: Running a Highly Capable Digital IT

A highly capable IT can accelerate the business speed and improve organizational maturity.

Forward-looking IT organizations are shifting from a process-driven silos function to a capability-based digital engine of the organization, because often technology is the disruptive force of business transformation, and the information is one of the most valuable assets in modern business. IT needs to go beyond “keeping the light on,” and focus on adding value to catalyze business growth and improve organizational maturity. More specifically, how to run a highly capable digital IT?

A highly capable IT is business capability multiplier: A business capability is the set of abilities needed by an organization to do things effectively to achieve desired outcomes, measurable benefits and fulfill business demand consistently. In order to achieve business goals, organizations need to build a set of business capabilities, and IT is not just the sum of services or processes, but an enabler of business capabilities which can weave all necessary elements of the business into strategic capabilities and unique competency of the organization. IT is not just part of the business; it is a critical, integral component of the business. IT is the only entity in the organization supposed to understand business entirely and oversight organizational processes horizontally, and pay attention to the processes and inter-connectivity under the surface, in order to build crucial business capabilities. It is important to run IT as a business capability multiplier because a core business competency is a harmonization of multiple capabilities such that it permeates the entire organization with a focus, and in alignment with the resource-based view. IT needs to build a set of value-added digital capabilities via weaving all necessary hard and soft elements, in reaching high-level maturity. The unique competencies are valuable, rare, and differentiated from competitors. With today’s digital paradigm shift, digital capabilities are also the building blocks to shift an organization from a reactive surviving mode to proactive thriving mode.


A highly capable IT can accelerate the business speed and improve organizational maturity: More and more businesses expect the consumerization style responsiveness from IT. Unfortunately, many IT organizations have been perceived by business partners as being slow to change, and there are gaps created between IT and the rest of the company. Digitizing IT means to speed up, adapt to changes, and keep optimizing. IT has to not only improve its own speed, but also overall organizational agility. IT needs to ensure its strategy allowing for digital speed, and agility to be seen by the business as a catalyzer, not an overhead. Technology is pervasive and disruptive, and the information is abundant and even overloading. Business initiatives and digital transformation today nearly always involves some form of technology implementation and information facilitating. A highly capable digital IT will enable operational excellence, business agility in building a high-performance enterprise and the ultimate goal of digital transformation.


A highly capable digital IT is a proactive problem-solver of the business: IT touches both hard business processes and soft human behaviors. More often technology is the innovation disruptor and the information is the lifeblood of the organization. And IT needs to be a proactive business problem solvers because as an information steward, IT is in a unique position to gain business insight and customer foresight, and the emergent lightweight digital technologies just make innovation easier to do now than it the post, less costly, and easily accessible. Therefore, IT leaders should be a part of a top business executive team as a strategist, change agent and talent master for the role to be more effectively, and close the gaps between business and IT.


IT plays an important role in interpreting business issues into a technology solution, also, leverage necessary resources to solve them. And more broadly, IT can weave all necessary business elements, either hard or soft, to differentiated capabilities. Running a highly capable digital IT is a prerequisite to achieving business strategies, leverage unique IT knowledge and capability to build business competency is crucial for the business's long-term growth and maturity.





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