Thursday, November 17, 2016

"CIO Master" Book Tuning #137: Three IT Practices to Achieve Digital Excellence

Any successful transformation starts and ends with a clear vision of what the transformed organization should be.

Digital transformation is a leapfrogging change. The most difficult topic during transformation is managing uncertainty especially when you change many things: people, technology, processes, culture, systems and organization at the whole in the same time. It is a complicated moment for all people in the organization at all levels. More often than now, IT is at the unique position to oversee underlying business processes and weave all important elements of the company into business competency. IT also needs to make continuous improvement and delivery to achieve digital excellence.

Making continuous improvement more than discovering an elegant solution: Running IT not as an isolated support function, but as a business inside the business, is the digital way to go.  It is a multi-stepped process that includes both problem resolution and solution implementation. All stages must be handled with attention and proficiency to ensure success. The goal of change and improvement should look beyond immediate problem resolution. Getting ahead of change curve and improve business agility. With emerging digital opportunities and risks, business leaders including IT leaders are seeing the benefit of the IT strategy being fully part of the enterprise strategy. The more complex the change and digital transformation, the more complex the solution. This often means customized approaches that may apply differently to each individual impacted, and it involves people. Process, and technology. The focus should include actions designed to sustain performance improvement and anchor change as a new opportunity. It's getting into action in creative, positive, productive ways that educate, support and celebrate every emotional step of the change curve and collective transformation journey.

Running IT as a revenue generator, not just a cost cutter: Many IT organizations still get stuck at the lower level of maturity, focus on bottom line activities, being perceived as a cost center. There is a huge gap between IT and business, the chasm between IT and customers. To achieve digital excellence, IT should strive to be a revenue generator and value creator. It is the time for business and IT to take each other more seriously, and ideally, integrate as a whole, with the ambidextrous talent to achieve common goals and deliver the high-performance business result. So, when IT reduces the cost of doing business, it increases the margin. IT strives to be a revenue contributor to the business. To manage a comprehensive IT portfolio, make sure you have the right skills mix and collective capacity. And, to bridge the gap between business and IT, it’s more about psychological knowledge rather than technology or business knowledge. What is needed are lots more impartial and independent hybrids who can help businesses define a robust and rigorous set of needs, work with technologists to deliver the solution and with both parties to ensure the desired outcome happens.

Exploring the digital dimension of organizational structure: The lightweight and powerful digital technologies provide organizations great opportunities to optimize structures and improve efficiency, effectiveness, and agility. When the enterprise is at risk of being defeated by smaller, nimbler, more agile competitors, then the silos’ owners understand it is for their own benefit to collaborate and build “horizontal” organizational interdependencies to achieve better time to market for global products and services. The good organizational structure tuning should dig through the real issues need to be addressed, or the real causes of changes, and prepare the change following step-wise steps, walk through “look, listen, question, understand, plan, test and collaboration,” scenario, and take advantage of the latest technology trends that provide more effective way in cross-functional communication and cross-project collaboration. The digital dimension of organizational structure is enjoying a powerful tailwind, organizational structure tuning should be seen as a digital transformation initiative, not for its own sake, but justify a solid business case, subjected to reality-based cost-benefit analysis. It is also important to well align people, process, and technology, to make change happen not only on the structural surface, but really ensure the culture is harmonized and the right people are in the right position to take the right tasks, and organization as a whole is superior the sum of pieces.

Any successful transformation starts and ends with a clear vision of what the transformed organization should be. The role of digital visionary CIO is to identify and blend the ways that information and technology can assist and shape the business by linking all digital aspects together to enforce the value creation. These elements are then mixed with other business ingredients to create products and services which generate differentiated value for their business’s long-term growth, and the term of value can be measurable in a multidimensional way from business, customers and shareholders’ perspective, running IT as the business to achieve digital excellence.





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