Monday, November 21, 2016

“CIO Master” Book Tuning #141: Digital IT Sense of Achievement

Digital CIOs can have a sense of achievement by running IT as a business; by people and for the people, to be future driven and digital ready.


The majority of IT organizations today are often overloaded and understaffed, running as a support center, being stuck at the lower level of maturity, and not getting fully respected by business peers. In most cases, the IT department isn't producing anything that is saleable and, therefore, many in the organization will view IT as something that seems to ceaselessly suck up money with the very little return on investment. Digital CIOs as top business leaders, how to renovate the tarnished IT image and manage IT with a sense of achievement?

Digital CIOs need to help the business top line growth and improve the net profit: It’s not sufficient to run IT to keep the lights on only. More critical than ever, businesses require IT to help drive revenue growth and business innovation -developing innovative products or services that the business can offer to customers to grow revenue. Senior executives are focused on company/business performance. Their number one metric for performance is revenue growth. Profitability/productivity, which I.T. has strong impacts on. CIOs should spend more time with their business peers to understand the added value IT systems are providing to the company and spend more time on strategy management. Improving revenue alone without improving net will become meaningless, so a CIO should help the business to improve net, by reducing cost of doing business via various means such as right sourcing and sizing, keeping IT cost flat while at the same time maximizing its output, so when the business revenue increase, IT cost remains the same which will improve net or what will improve the top line and at the same time decrease expenses to improve the bottom line.

Digital CIOs must also be able to optimize the IT operation within itself: IT Transformation is the journey to pursue business agility, enable operational excellence, catalyze new service/product innovation, drive customer experience optimization, and improve employees satisfaction, these are five pillars in building a high-performance digital enterprise and achieving the ultimate goal of the digital  transformation. IT resource needs to be well aligned with the business strategies and objectives (IT Effectiveness and Efficiency). It is also something to have the IT resources (people and operational IT processes) refined to the point that they are nimble, can adapt to changing business demands in a timely fashion, can be reapplied to altering business priorities and be effective with little down curve (IT Agility). When a CIO is able to position and maintain the IT organization to ensure it addresses IT effectiveness, IT efficiency, and IT agility,  they have earned their stripes.

IT needs to be a proactive business problem solver to gain a sense of achievement: IT should facilitate the business partners to the right solutions and help to implement them. Many IT organizations are still operated via inside-out operational lens only, without comprehensive understanding about the overall business challenges. IT needs to set priority right via proactively solving business problems, not just overcoming technical challenges. IT has to proactively work as an integral part of the business to capitalize on opportunity via leading the digital transformation, IT delivers the best solution to the business problems which meet the business’s requirement or tailor customers' needs. IT organization is usually the information steward of the business. Information potential directly impacts the business's potential of the organization. Running IT as a digital solutionary is to effectively manage information life cycle and ensure the right people getting the right information timely to make the right decisions. The CIO has to foresee, anticipate business needs for information and then prepare and gear up the information systems to not only make readily pertinent information to top business decision makers but also preempt the need and present the value accordingly.

Digital CIOs can have a sense of achievement by running IT as a business; by people and for the people, to be future driven and digital ready; making IT integrated into the company while avoiding making it a separate "stand alone" department. Digital leaders today should make it clear that the direction and accomplishments of IT are directly affected by the entire company's involvement. Ensuring a high-performing, high-reliable and high-proactive IT is the key success factor in organizational digital transformation.


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