Thursday, September 8, 2016

"CIO Master" XXXXXXXXXIV: Running IT as Digital Change Agent

Digital is about changes with increasing velocity and speed.

Digital transformation is a journey. Literally, the transformation is to radically change the nature of something. Digital transformation is a radical change of the business via its underlying business processes, invisible business culture or emergent new business model, etc. In a business scope, there are some of the “significant bits and bytes of information” needed to make cognitive connections when evaluating a new market, new technology or any business growth opportunity. Hence, IT plays a critical role in exploring such an “art of impossible,” and should be run as a digital Change Agent.  

CIOs must set the principles, guideline and rules to run a Change Agent digital IT: IT is in the middle of a sea change, it is important to realize that there are basic principles and rules that make it work. CIOs shouldn’t get pushed for the changes, they are actually in a better position to play a role as change agent. CIOs are accountable for critical part of the business that is constantly changing and evolving. Thus, contemporary CIOs should be capable of evolving leadership skills to not only match pace with the changes in technology and the pace at which the organization can effectively manage these changes, but also proactively drive changes in business transformation. Change Management is a journey, not just a one-time project. A clearly defined roadmap should be available, and industry best practices need to be in place to serve as a framework upon which the solution can be implemented over time. Only if the CIO is proactive and innovative, IT can be run in a proactive mode to make continuous delivery of customer-tailored products/services/solution, and to become a changing organization in their company.

A change agent IT should get deeper understanding the issues facing both internal customers and end customers as well: Not just scratch the surface, but dig through the root causes. Change is not for its own sake, it is IT responsibility to identify opportunity for business transformation wherever analysis and assessment indicate the potential benefits of transformation efforts, to oversee the key business process and influence organizational culture, to enable and catalyze business transformation. Business transformation should not be undertaken lightly because it must align diverse and divergent stakeholders' interests toward a common goal. IT is in a unique position because they can see the whole organization and should have the program skills to implement transformation successfully.

Last but not least, people are Change Masters: The CIO needs to identify change champions as the lightning rod for the project. IT leaders/talent also need to possess business skills and change techniques to garner the influence needed to be effective. You need problem solvers, change agents, customer champions and innovators, and those who can think forward, dig deeper, see through the issues, look around and beneath the corner, and work smarter. The wider organization needs to provide support for assuring the skills people bring into one organization don't go to waste in the same. Riding ahead of the change curve takes strategy, technology, and methodology. People are the weakest link, also the very reason for any changes, so make people as your core focal point in Change Management.

Digital is about change. But the change in and of itself is never the reason. Change is the vehicle, not the purpose of doing a project. Change is an ongoing business capability in which IT is a key component, and Change Management needs to be a mechanism embedded in the multitude of IT management as well. A clear vision, systematic thinking and effective communication, the logical processes and exemplified change leadership are all the key success factors to overcome challenges and manage changes smoothly.


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