Thursday, December 8, 2016

The "CIO Master" Book Tuning #149: Does IT Work in the System or on the System to Drive Digital Transformation

The point is that If IT and the business aren't a team working together toward the same goals, then the end result will be diminished.

Information and technology catalyze today's digital businesses, either disrupt or being disrupted. IT is at an inflection point to lead the organizational level digital transformation. Nowadays, IT can no longer run in the silo, IT is the business. Because information brings about business ideas; business ideas generate lots of information. Information Systems are the backbone and provide valuable information for key decision making and problems solving, And IT needs to contribute to the business growth, innovation, and customer experience optimization. So in order to drive digital transformation, should your IT organization work in the system or on the system to unleash the full digital potential and improve the organizational maturity?

IT systems are business oriented, with the purpose to accomplish business goals and objectives: Sometimes people equated Information System with Computer System, an amalgamation of computer programs and software. Some IT systems probably are just glorified computer programs. Real information systems are business oriented, they are designed by systems analysts and qualified specialists, including business area experts, to integrate computer programs, databases, and other pieces of IT components, with how users go about accomplishing business objectives. An information System (IS) is a business-centric system that deals with information management for collecting, storing, processing and delivering information, knowledge, and digital products/services to ensure the right people getting the right information at the right time for making right decisions to achieve business goals.

IT shouldn’t just work within the IT information system, but often it has to work on the system or within the systems to drive changes and lead digital transformation: What can be unifying is looking at each function in the enterprise as a subsystem and then finding a unified means of looking at the essence. In this regard, IT needs to work across the functional systems because information management is not just about IT, but about the business across the enterprise scope, and IT is at the unique position to oversee the functionality underlying the entire organization. In reality, due to the functional silos, there are many instances where IT managers and business management experts are in positions to play politics for the budgets rather than a focus on organizational matters. So in many organizations with lower-level of maturity, the business is the sum of pieces, not running as a premium whole. If only IT can be empowered and work on the system or across the functional systems, the business and IT can be fully integrated to ensure the whole is superior to the sum of pieces, and improve the overall business responsiveness, changeability, effectiveness, and maturity. Therefore, IT is a key component of holistic business mindset. The mindset that needs to change is that of business. Companies that continue with the status quo will not win in this ever more competitive digital business dynamic because the most powerful and differentiating tool in all of the today's businesses is information and that is provided by IT systems.

IT is a system which has an emergent property of individual human beings making sense of experiences in time and places: A system is the part of the world which has to be of interest to us on the basis of a certain purpose. IT system is a system that manages information, which is a pretty pervasive concept and mostly depends on humans to define which kind of information that is relevant. Of course, various people are influenced by the system assets they have available and utilize. The question of whether people are in the system or out of the system is a very important question. Too often the boundary or definition of the 'system-of-interest' can be different depending on the particular problem being addressed, adding people to a system changes the characteristics of the system. So it's up to “someone” to draw the boundary and it probably too depends on the purpose of your thinking about that system. Components are different and the interactions are different. Generally speaking, people are the important element in the environment. This is particularly true because digital is the age of people-centricity. It means having IT and business collaborate as equal partners so that strategies, projects, organizations, people, etc, work in harmony, such that initiatives, especially those focused on leveraging IT to increase revenues are successful.

Anyone with common sense can perceive that, and all forward-looking businesses are declaring they are in the information business regardless of the sectors and nature of business. Whether IT needs to work within, on or across the systems depends on how you define the system scope and the integrated components of the system. The point is that If IT and the business aren't a team working together toward the same goals, then the end result will be diminished. The CIO role has never been about just managing the status quo, so the digital shift for IT is to be innovative with systems of engagement rather than systems of record. This is especially true in today’s hyperconnected and interdependent digital dynamic where the global business environment, organizations, and technology are continuing to experience dramatic change at an accelerated pace. All these need to be effective to have mature IT-business integration, IT-customer alignment, and that organization with higher and stronger maturity outperform organizations with lower maturity.




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