Monday, August 15, 2016

“CIO Master” Book Tuning XXXXXXXVII: Running a “I-Information Driven” IT to Catalyze Business Growth

CIOs have to be hand-in-glove with business executives to map out the vision and strategy.

We live in a technology world and every day more and more technologies affect the way we live, love, and think. Great opportunity, danger, and disruption are around every corner. Hence, IT plays a more crucial role in the organization to optimize and innovate the business, with ultimate goals to push the IT organization to be clear about its position via the company’s core business growth. Here are three aspects of running a “Digital Fit” IT to catalyze business growth and improve overall organizational maturity.

Information executives have to be hand-in-glove with business executives to map out the vision and strategy: CIOs as top business executives, have to be an integral part of driving business value. They can do so by integrating technology with strategy implementation. In order to integrate technology with strategy, Information executives have to be fully aligned with the business executives in articulating business strategy. The digital strategy is essential for companies in the digital era and requires a new way of viewing the organization via collaboration instead of silos. What is interesting with the digital strategy is that the soft aspects (culture, leadership, and people management) are as important as the harder aspects such as technology and marketing tools. Digital organizations are also characterized by a continuous transformation correlated to the changed customer behavior and technical evolution. IT transformation is an integral part of the business transformation. IT transformation means rationalizing current IT department, and planning to partner with the business to provide service and solutions in new ways via continuous deliveries. In short, it means (whatever the driver) understanding the "As is" position of the business and the role IT plays in it, and identifying the desirable "To be" state. The next step is to build and execute a strategy and the associated change programs that enable the "To be" state to be achieved, and a set of processes and activities that keep it dynamic. The ultimate goal is to push the IT organization to be clear about its position via the company's core business strategy. Once that's clear, the CIO must reinforce that position by demonstrating every day how IT contributes to it and prioritizes well to laser focus on the strategy implementation.

Launching innovative delivery channels for improving the business revenues, or overall organizational competency: Information provides the lifeblood for any organization to make data-driven decisions and capture business insight, IT needs to become an innovation engine for business growth, IT enables all critical business processes, which underpin business capabilities in enabling such transformation. IT as a business enabler and catalyzer should achieve the ability to capture the latest digital technology trends for catalyzing business innovation. IT will also request their partners to do the same. Defined projects are hard enough in such dynamic environment to keep within the scope, as they will, in some cases anticipate benefits that may not be part of the original delivery of the project, but be seen as a potential byproduct, within the agreed budget, with the ultimate goal of “doing more with innovation.”

The focus of digital IT also needs to provide business capabilities, not just services or solutions: One of the key aspects is that IT is seen as a service provider by business entities within the organization. Furthermore, a large chunk of IT expenditure (projects) are funded by business entities. This is where the wheels fall off if there is no interest to achieve system efficiency, effectiveness, and agility, or overall business capabilities, resulting in limited IT ability providing value. Companies that continue with the status quo will not win in this ever more competitive digital business dynamic, because the most powerful and differentiating tool in all of the today's businesses is INFORMATION and that, is provided by IT systems. Anyone with common sense can perceive that, and all forward-looking businesses are declaring they are in the information business regardless of the sectors and the nature of the business. IT is an integral component of business capabilities and "super glue" of processes, not just some separate services, to run a high-intelligent and high-effective digital organization.

From IT leadership to IT talent, from mindset to priority-setting, IT needs to go beyond as a service provider, act as an “I-driven” true business partner, and make a contribution to the business’s top line growth. IT is the business!



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