Saturday, November 19, 2016

"CIO Master" Book Tuning #139: How can IT improve Fluidity of the Digital Organization?

IT can weave all crucial business elements such as people, process, and technology into organizational competency for running a living and fluid digital organization.

If the organization in the industrial age is like a mechanical system composed of silo parts and managed via reductionistic philosophy, and then digital organizations today are more like living systems which keep growing or flowing. The membrane around every living cell is the delicate balance between solid and water. It’s solid enough to hold some sort of form and liquid enough to allow movement in and out of the cell so the cell can interact with its environment. That is the future of the digital organization, solid enough to give some sort of form/meaning and open enough to its environment to allow movement of people, ideas, and information in and out. So what’s the role of IT in improving the business’s digital fluidity, and run a high-performance digital organization steadfastly?

Keep information and knowledge flow in the digital ecosystem: The aim of modern Information Management has often been described as getting the right information to the right person, in the right format and medium, at the right time, in order to make right decisions. Information and knowledge do not stand still! It flows into the company, it flows out of it, it erodes; it gets created, and hopefully it flows to the customers of the company in terms of product and service delivery as well. As the accepted industrial model of knowledge management is too hierarchical, too centralized for the fast-moving, increasingly social or collaborative digital enterprise of today, there is a shift from more traditional knowledge management approaches to techniques that involve enhancing the "flow" of knowledge within a high mature digital organization to improve access and use. IT as the information steward of the business can achieve the qualitative and measurable value of information to catalyze business growth, also solve some of the pains underlying it, unlock the latent expertise, integrate information and knowledge management to build a culture of learning and innovation via following the principles such as connect-collect-collaborate; ask-learn-share, and improve organizational fluidity.

Idea and creativity flow: Digital is the age of innovation. The main barriers to innovation are silos, rigidity, inflexibility, static mindset, or bureaucracy, etc. It is important to build a scalable idea management which means for sharing and managing ideas throughout the enterprise, even across silos and geographies. Idea flow can be streamlined via enforcing cross-functional communication, using common business language for harnessing understanding, taking incentives to encourage sharing, paying more attention to ideas from others, and setting prioritization - select the ideas which can have a better opportunity to implement and maximize business value, skills - to practise capability based idea management. Most good ideas emerge from interactions, not single individuals, therefore, 3C (Communication, Collaboration, and Coordination) are necessities for keeping idea flow and practicing good idea management. Good ideas nearly never emerge spontaneously. They need to seed and mature.

Talent flow: Digital is the age of people, businesses need to keep the employees satisfied and engaged in order to unleash the collective human potential and build long term business competency. If the staff is the cog in the large mechanical wheel of organization which keeps spinning around in the industrial age, and then people are like living cells in the organic digital organization, keep growing and innovating. It is a strategic imperative for businesses to develop their employees and keep talent flow, to ensure the right people with the right capability in the right position to fulfill their own professional life and contribute the success of the organization as a whole. It also means to innovate and integrate talent management, performance management and culture management into a holistic people management solution for enforcing understanding, building a strong business brand to attract top talents, improving employee experience, unleashing talent potential, aligning individuals’ career goal with the business goal, to ensure the staff keep sharpening their skill sets, step out of the comfort zone, and contribute to the business growth proactively.  

A digital business ecosystem is open, fluid, dynamic and energetic because the speed of change is exponentially increasing. Organizations today have to become highly responsive, dynamic, and hyperconnected. Digital favors hybrid solutions, IT can weave all crucial business elements such as people, process, and technology into organizational competency for running a living and fluid digital organization.


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