Saturday, December 3, 2016

Three Principles to Highlight Digital IT leadership

CIOs must set the principles, guideline and rules to run a digital IT.

Due to the “VUCA” characteristics of digital new normal, IT is in the middle of a sea change, Modern technology proves human’s progress. At a contemporary business, technology is an enabler for business transformation, process optimization and talent empowerment. It is important to realize that there are basic principles and rules that make it work. CIOs must set guidelines to run digital organizations. Here are three principles to highlight digital IT leadership.
Lead, don't just manage:  Management is about execution while leadership is about change, specifically influencing others to change. CIOs are not just tactical IT managers, but transformational business leaders. CIO as a C-level peer executive, the leadership footprint needs to cover all functional organizations and their inter-relationships and know how to orchestrate them effectively. Leading through influence is critical. CIOs need to practice thought leadership and make an influence on their industry and professions. Keep Industry connections warm, Leverage tools to capture the Technology/Market Trends, and envision the future of IT. More often than not, technology is the driver of business change or digital transformation. Therefore, CIOs as IT leaders will play more proactive role in driving changes or leading transformation. Make sure that nothing is dismissed due to out of date beliefs or the natural human emotions. Run IT not as an isolated support function, but as a changing organization to catalyze growth and fuel innovation. It is easy to get caught up in the race toward being at the cutting-edge, but foresight and careful thought are required to truly understand the implications of new technology. The CIO needs to be the visionary derives the most value out of the technology investments by translating the promise of technology to strategic and competitive advantage for the company.

Strive to be digital fit and more business-focused: The CIO’s ability to create fundamental business value is now greater than ever. The CIO is required to think about business first, technology second. Technology is one of the tools the CIO uses to help move the business in the direction of meeting its strategic objectives. CIOs need to be a knowledgeable business strategist and specialized business generalist to co-create strategy, the focal point of digitalization strategy is part and parcel of an overall corporate strategy and then an IT strategy. Co-development of strategy by business and IT would reduce risks of surprise disruptions and better involve IT in bolstering competitive advantage. This strategic focus is all the more important in the current environment where technological advances happen at a rapid face. Understand your organization’s strategic goals and initiatives. What are you doing that doesn't specifically support strategy? Work toward getting all of those tasks off of your plate. What can you delegate to your team? Delegate and let them do their jobs. Also, make sure that the external customers who purchase products or services have a great experience relating to any IT systems that impact them. Make it clear that the direction and accomplishments of IT are directly affected by the entire company's involvement. Make IT integrated into the company while avoiding making it a separate "stand alone" department.

First people, then process, and then technology in that order: The CIOs have to master at conducting such a hybrid digital orchestra with all important business elements, but with the right order: people, process, and technology. They wouldn't be able to create a 'symphony' without the full participation of his/her team members. It is important to dedicate open door time for people to come and discuss any challenges, or share any innovative ideas and creative problem solving. However, there are still too many organizations just have very silo HR systems, processes, and practices, still treat talent as human resources with an old-fashioned way to recruit, retain, training and rewards, and have not focused on building collective talent capabilities sufficiently. CIOs should act as talent masters, to promote and take advantage of the latest technologies such as social platforms and tools by recognizing its huge potential, to revitalize the talent solution by shaking up the current talent pool, exploring the multiple digital talent solutions with open mindsets, and decentralizing the workforce with self-management capability.

CIOs must set the principles, guideline and rules to run a digital IT. CIO might need to play the paradoxical roles, the strategic initiator, the idea instigator, but also the disciplined engineering manager and governance champion. Especially now, businesses large or small are facing of radical digital disruption, “Do More with Innovation” is the mantra for running IT through taking advantage of new IT trend, as timely enablers to deliver the business solution with elasticity and agility.


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