Saturday, September 24, 2016

"CIO Master" Book Tuning #104: Running IT in a Proactive Mode to Earn its Spurs

To earn its spur, IT needs to be courageously “doing more with innovation.”

In today's digital business environment, information is the lifeblood, and technology touches every phase of the business, IT impact is significant - IT is impacting every business unit and is becoming the driver of business change. However, many IT organizations still run in a reactive mode or act as controller only, slow to change. What are the IT leadership disciplines and best practices to rejuvenating IT in a proactive change mode and earn its spurs?

Build a comprehensive Change Agenda: IT faces unprecedented opportunity to refine its reputation, also needs to take more responsibilities as a true business partner. Hence, IT needs to proactively participate business conversations; the CIO must be totally involved and participate in the strategic decision of upper management and be proactive, build a comprehensive change agenda and have access to both internal and external resources to achieve the desired ROI. Change is not for its own sake, every change needs to have a noble business purpose, so IT as a change agent needs to well engage business conversations. The CIO is at a unique position in business transformation and needs to handle it cautiously but firmly. The CIO also needs to be acutely in tune with the business, IT should be driven by business needs and goals rather than IT requirement, and then it is easier to get peer collaboration. IT leaders have to reach out horizontally to their business peers. The business-engaged CIO is an accepted leader to run a proactive IT and keeps navigating during rough sea to earn its spurs.

Decomplexitizng business processes: IT leaders need to be acutely in tune with the business, keep optimizing the business via decomplexitizing the processes. Due to the changing nature of technology, the CIO role is a challenging perch to sit on. Whilst they need to ensure their IT department keeps the lights on, continually improves, provide the IT enablement to allow the business to grow. However, running a proactive IT is a challenge, because the process of changing a good business idea into an effective IT solution has become awfully complex and messy in many larger organizations. You can not deliver value without "de-complexitizing" and make transparent what is being delivered and how or what is being delivered. Simplifying business collaboration processes using agile principles and just common sense helps a great deal in improving predictability, which makes it easier to manage expectations. There is a combination of factors at work which indeed link closely to the issues around business-IT enablement. IT leadership needs to sort through the issues, develop rationalizations and achieve mutually acceptable solutions that are then communicated up, down and across the enterprise.

Directly influence a customer's perception of a business: To transform IT from a cost center to a value creator and earn its spurs, IT needs to shift from inside-out operation driven to an outside in customer-centric organization. New technology tools and business models allow a company to capture customer information on a continual basis. Deploy a range of technologies that focus purely on improving the customers’ experience and perception of business services/solutions, showing the customers that you are making a significant investment to deliver to them products / services/solutions which more closely meet their needs, you are doing so to a greater extent than your competitors. And you can enthusiastically present, passionately participate, proactively deliver directly or through marketing, the solutions via leveraging digital technologies to customers and prospects.

IT does matter. But, not IT as a silo specialist function, but as a proactive business partner. To earn its spur, IT needs to be courageously “doing more with innovation,” be humble enough to listen to customers; but confident enough to say 'NO' with the fair reasons. The intimate Business-IT partnership is the ultimate status for IT to deliver better fit, right-on and cost-effective solutions. Even you can not fulfill all the business’s demands, but you deliver what you promise, and you do what is the best fit for the business’s strategy and goals.


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