Monday, July 18, 2016

"CIO Master" Book Tuning XXXXXXVIII: Running IT Outwardly to Embrace Digital

Embracing digital is inevitable as that is now part of the business venture.

IT is the business, and digital IT is outward and customer-centric. This should be the focus of digital CIOs. So today's CIOs should understand the strategic goals of the company and ensure IT is laser focused on those goals, and they need to continually ask themselves: What’re your multidimensional business views? What's IT value proposition? Does IT have the vision necessary for the business to succeed and continuously grow? And your company relies on an IT system, is that a commodity with a standardized usage of technologies, or is IT system the core and key differentiator of your business? The approach depends on the company's business and the role that IT plays in defining its positioning in the market. Overall speaking, running IT outwardly with customer-centricity is the right approach to embracing digital radically.

Embracing digital is inevitable as that is now part of the business venture. Companies across sectors ultimately respond to the external environment as geopolitics, rapid innovation, and social expectations change the business landscape and blur the digital territories. As organizations that do not respond to external environmental changes will quickly outcompete as more innovative enterprises take their customers. In today's volatile economy, nothing impedes progress more than protective silos which are simply a form of bureaucratic amorphous mass designed to preserve the status quo. The managers today, especially senior leaders should have the ability to see the big picture, to complement team’s viewpoint. Because people who can see the bigger picture, abstract the insight from the overloading information, and are not living the day-to-day activities, are needed to clear blind spots, integrate a multitude of viewpoints, and inspire the culture of innovation

There is a method, albeit a bit self-serving to those pushing it, called user-centric IT. It is the outside-in lenses to see IT management from customers' view, instead of just IT operation perspectives. IT has both internal business customers and end customers. IT plays a crucial role in optimizing and digitizing every touch point of customer experience and improving overall customer satisfaction. CIOs need to transform IT from a controller to a business enabler, from inside-out, operation-based IT view to outside-in customer point of view, to empower users with the right tools and information to make decisions at the right time. Thus, the next practice of practicing IT management is to live as "customers." A valid strategic objective and the strategy mapping allow you to first understand your customers and what they value, and then identifies how to best characterize that value through project portfolio management, define key indicators, and then define those measures appropriately to best assess the performance of these indicators because they show you how well they satisfy or delight customers.

Put emphasis on customer-centric innovation. Organizations can no longer rely on a single individual or team to drive innovation. This is largely due to the fact that innovating in today’s digital world has become increasingly complex in nature. Variety, complexity, diversification, and collaboration are the characteristics of the digital innovation ecosystem. Innovation needs to lay out different structures, thinking and solutions to allow this to develop in its potential where organizations are combining all that is available to them in imaginative, advantageous ways. To enable customer-centric innovation, assign the best team members in your first line of contact, so they should have a good understanding and appreciation of the business processes, fully aware of the organizational structure and who is responsible for what - both infrastructure and applications. And the app teams should have access to the senior people to whom escalation can be made to resolve challenges. Point out that 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. Digital the age of people. The more difficult challenge is not just launching a successful team, but maintaining their motivation and focus.

IT needs to shift from inward-operation driven to outward-customer centric and innovation focused.  IT leaders shouldn’t get stuck to “we always do things like this,” because when they keep moving forward, they create the blind spots, or jump to the wrong conclusions. If most managers still apply old silo management mindsets to new ways of organizing and this legacy of the old economy limits many digital organizations. CIOs and IT management have to equip with the new mindset to run a bold IT outwardly.


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