Wednesday, June 1, 2016

"CIO Master" XXXXIV: Running IT with Digital Fluency

A digital organization is a living business in the relationship with its environments.

Organizations large and small are on the journey to shift from static, inflexible industrial business settings to living digital business dynamic which is organic, alive, holistic, vibrant, energetic, responsive, fluid, and innovative. Digitalization means hyper-connectivity, over-complexity, and interdependence; it blurs the functional border, organizational border,  industry vertical border, geographic border, and knowledge domain border. IT plays a significant role in such a transformation because technology is often the disruptive force and information is the lifeblood to keep the business flow. But the first things first, how to run IT with digital fluency?


Experimentation: Running a digital IT means innovation, customer-centricity, and employee engagement. Digital transformation represents a break from the past, with a high level of impact and complexity. It means IT has to experiment the new way to do things, change the mentality about "we always do things like that," encourage creativity, because digital transformation efforts need to be undertaken as the means of getting to a set of differentiated capabilities to accomplish a defined goal. The definition of innovation is simple - to gain benefit by doing something different. Experiment the better way to communicate and collaborate with business partners; Digital is the age of customers, experiment the new way to optimize customer experience. Assume that every problem has multiple solutions and ask yourself and others for "three ways we might address this issue."Push for multiple solutions via pulling the necessary resource to experiment and discover the new possibilities. A digital organization is a living business in the relationship with its environments, customers, suppliers, shareholders, and above all enhances and supports the creative human spirit via connecting, discovery, and experimentation.


Information Savvy: Digital means flow, information flow, idea flow, and mind flow. IT is shifting from a technology custodian to an information steward to manage the full data-performance life cycle: data -> analysis -> decisions -> performance effectively. It means to break down the silo, create the information savvy environment that encourages the utilization and the flow of information and knowledge. Poor information management implies not understanding what raw material they have to play with, or poor measurement -not applying worthwhile evaluation to it to reveal the inherent value. An information savvy organization can make sure the right people getting the right information at the right time to make the right decision; it means the organization can capture business insight or customer foresight to ride above the waves of the emergent digital trends, and grasp the upcoming opportunities for business growth or oversight risks and avoid pitfalls smoothly. Thus, the business can accelerate growth and achieves high-performing result effortlessly.


Agility: Digital is also about increasing the speed of change, hyperconnectivity, and fierce competition. Running a digital IT means to synchronize with business speed via integration and optimization, not just alignment and consolidation. A digital IT can both adapt to change and create necessary change effortlessly. Because enterprises have always been parts of simple and complex digital ecosystems, so to function seamlessly, an enterprise has to be linked to the many and varying touch points between itself and its dynamic environment. Therefore, you have to look holistically at the problem domain to architect and design an adaptive organization to address business and system dynamics. Agility is also interrelated with learning ability because a learning organization is more comfortable with complexity, ambiguity, paradoxes and they have a penchant for candor. So high organizational learning relates to high response in recognizing and addressing system constraints. The more learning agile an organization is, the faster it can adapt to changes, and the more digital fluent it becomes.


The purpose to run IT with digital fluency is to mind the gap between business and IT, leverage the latest digital technologies to craft frictionless business culture, re-frame business processes to bridge silos, and build optimal sets of business capabilities to delight customers. So IT can drive business change and digital transformation effortlessly.



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