Welcome to our blog, the digital brainyard to fine tune "Digital Master," innovate leadership, and reimagine the future of IT.

The magic “I” of CIO sparks many imaginations: Chief information officer, chief infrastructure officer , Chief Integration Officer, chief International officer, Chief Inspiration Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Influence Office etc. The future of CIO is entrepreneur driven, situation oriented, value-added,she or he will take many paradoxical roles: both as business strategist and technology visionary,talent master and effective communicator,savvy business enabler and relentless cost cutter, and transform the business into "Digital Master"!

The future of CIO is digital strategist, global thought leader, and talent master: leading IT to enlighten the customers; enable business success via influence.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Structural Elegance of Digital Organization

Digital is the gigantic puzzle with many misplaced pieces, you have to put them all in the right places to discover the true meaning and unleash its full potential.

Digital makes a profound impact from the specific function to the business as a whole and the entire digital ecosystem. Digital transformation is the scalable expansion toward multiple directions. Digital transformation is to optimize the whole, not the separate silos. Digital is the gigantic puzzle with many misplaced pieces, you have to put them all in the right places to discover the true meaning and unleash its full potential. The structural elegance of digital organization can further enforce its strategic responsiveness, operational excellence, and organizational maturity.

Digital organization is an integral business ecosystem with fluid structure and hyper-connected nature: Today’s digital companies need to be organized in running with quantum speed. They need to emphasize communication, participation, relationships, and realize that they will need to renew themselves periodically to cope effectively with change and have a fluid structure that responds effectively to the business dynamic. Digital organization is an integral business system with processes, policies, culture, work climates, people (employees, customers, partners, etc.) The whole business ecosystem needs to communicate, negotiate and cooperate with each other to re-invent. Looking at all business elements (including the human element) as an integrated, systemic system that, functions as an organic living thing. 'Individual' work and 'group' work cannot be done as a segregated form but within a 'framework' of an entire system or 'frame of reference.' Such a business system has a flexible and elegant structure, appreciate attributes such as 'readiness,’ 'ownership,' ‘integration,’ 'full open communication,’ self-renewal, customized designing as well as developing business 'partnerships.’

Ideally, the conscious recognition and complexity inherent in organizational systems lead to greater simplicity and structural elegance: Going digital has better chance to break down silos with a seamless integration and harness cross-functional collaboration. Collaboration happens in that space in between people in relationship receptively and thoughtfully interacting with interest and cares for one another's needs and activities so information and ideas can flow smoothly. Building and sustaining dynamics in a workforce are about collaboration with everyone at any level. Understanding and recognizing that everyone has a role in performing the digital music. Giving everyone a voice in how the organization and the people in it can prosper and thrive. It helps to build and maintain trust, transparency, respect, and flexibility. The more effortlessly you can align people inside an organization, differentiate products/services, the closer you can get to a stage to reduce of irrelevant complexity, analogy, and noise, and the greater you can execute the strategy with a predictive pathway, increase confidence, position a brand, and leverage resources to accelerate digital transformation.

The structural elegance of digital organization enforces self-adaptation, self-management, and innovation: The digital ecosystem is adaptively rational, it has to strike the balance of ‘keeping the order,’ and sparking the innovation. Consider nature and culture as to self-organized, self-adaptive, but interlaced environments and humans are vehicles of natural and cultural solutions. Self-adaptation is a phenomenon strictly linked to see learning (and knowledge) increases if shared and consumed. From the economic and organizational point of view, people are able to adapt themselves and their organization through a collaborative and peer to peer approach. In the organization scope, the digital flow can strike the right balance between orders (standardization) and ‘chaos’ (innovative organizations and their people learn through their interactions with the environment.) The digital organization should be able to assess to what extent the business has the capability and capacity to change; in terms of people, finances and manageability- the ability for a business to continue operating in the business-as-usual mode, satisfying its customers and continuing to deliver its commitments to shareholders, whilst putting itself under the pressure of substantial change.

The organization should keep tuning its structure and process, to become more adaptable and innovative, take advantage of the latest digital technology platforms & tools, and provide the space for people to exercise their talent and unleash their potential. Organizational maturity is not just about technical excellence or process efficiency, but also about structural elegance, business effectiveness, organizational adaptability, agility, innovation, intelligence, and people-centricity.

The Digital Board’s IT Inquiries

The digital board’s IT inquiries help to clarify the strategic role of IT in maximizing business potential.

As technologies permeate into every corner of the organization and information provides invaluable foresight to enable business growth, IT is no longer just as an isolated function or back office utility only. Nowadays, IT has to add more business value and delight both internal and end customers, and improve both the top line business growth and bottom line efficiency.. Here are a set of digital board's IT inquiries.

How can boards oversee the IT strategy which is an integral component of the business strategy:   Due to the increasing speed of changes and fierce business competitions, many IT organizations are at a cross road to either being transformed into a value-added digital engine for their business growth or being irrelevant as a cost center only. Digital leaders including BoDs today need to show their understanding and interest in technology, never underestimate the power of knowledge. They should gain the strategic insight about IT. They need to become digital fluent as well. Boards should be informed on what benefit is being delivered by IT and aware of constraints and risks. There is no stand-alone IT strategy. There is the only business strategy with IT as a key element. IT is also a key enabler of future organizational capability and a critical aspect of continuing business activity in organizations. IT is business and IT strategy in an integral part of business strategy. Meaningful exchanges and engagement will deliver competitive advantage. So the board has to oversee the business strategy with IT strategy as a sub-component. They have to ensure management and governance are the interdependent and complementary disciplines which are both enabled by high mature digital IT, to build the long-term business advantage.

How can boards help to strengthen the weakest link of the business - either it’s about people or IT, etc? Due to the exponential growth of information and significant opportunities and risk brought by digital technologies. IT becomes a frequent hot topic in the boardroom. The board also spend significant time on brainstorming the technology-enabled business solutions and diagnose the root cause when the business cannot speed up as it should be. Leadership including directorship is crucial to strengthen the business links and weave them to the differentiated business capabilities which enable the digital transformation.  The worst thing to do is just put the policy in place to mandate it. At the dawn of the digital era, these are the days of business users becoming more tech savvy. Without collaborative communication, business goes around IT for new technology. This is always a sign that something is not going right, and business reliability gets compromised. Thus, the IT-friendly board should gain an in-depth understanding of IT, set the right digital principles, leverage technological visions, and pull all necessary resources for strengthening the weakest links, bridge the gaps between IT and business, and improve the overall organizational maturity.

Can the board help IT set up the right priority: Information is the lifeblood, and technology is often the game changer. Many organizations make a significant investment in IT. Because more often IT can either make a leap of the business to the next level of growth cycle or fail the business even overnight. BoDs need to gain the insight on the potential of technology but also the liabilities, to play an important role in making effective decisions on IT investment assessment, IT portfolio prioritization, GRC concerns. When BoDs shift from a 'risk-avoidance' to a 'risk management' & risk intelligence mentality, they weigh in risk, and reward, take prudent risks and find ways to mitigate risk rather than eliminate it and embrace business growth opportunities proactively.

The digital board’s IT inquiries help to clarify the strategic role of IT in maximizing business potential. BoDs can also capture the oversight of the IT plan which is the series of steps required involving technology that enable the business strategy, empower IT leaders to become a strategic business advisors, as well as monitor the IT catalyzed business performance closely.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Monthly Performance Insight: How to Measure Return on Digital Transformation May 2017

Corporate Performance Management is a management control from strategy till shop floor. "If you can't measure, you can't manage," legendary management guru Peter Drucker once asserted. He was right Managing performance means understanding results, setting metrics, fixing plans, and making decisions to ensure it happens. It takes multifaceted approaches from multidimensional perspectives.


  How to Measure Return on Digital Transformation

How to Set Performance Indicators to Measure Return on Digital Transformation? Change is inevitable, and the speed of change is increasing. The digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to reinvent themselves, but it is the thorny journey with many bumps and curves on the way. How do you measure return on digital transformation in order to make the timely adjustment and improve its success rate? A well-defined set of measurement for digital transformation should contain a good mix of outcome measures or the long-term strategic value along with performance drivers to track the progress in the short term (operational measures).?

From Performance Appraisals to Performance Optimization Managing performance is a wonderful idea! But too many companies ignore the difference between doing PA (Performance Appraisal) and actually being proactive in performance management. In fact, in performance management, much less time should be spent on evaluating past performance, but moving to removing barriers to future performance. You can ask yourself some questions to move in the right direction like how frequent feedback will add value to your organization and the employees, what are the organizational goals and what value can performance evaluation add to it? What rewards should be linked to performance evaluation and how these rewards will affect the productivity of your employees and contribute to the organizational goals?

Strategic KPIs vs. Operational KPIs KPIs are indicators to identify if the adopted strategy, operation, and process, etc is working toward the objective. As such, you don't "adopt" a KPI to "achieve an outcome," you adopt a strategy or operational workflow to achieve the outcome, and you define KPIs to monitor the progress and performance. That’s the name KPI –Key Performance Indicators stand for. The provocative question is: is it possible to link operational KPI's to strategic ones to reflect and track the overall progress in achieving the strategic goals?

How to Develop the Performance Measures for Strategy? The strategy will start being more and more dynamic so the consistency and "perennial" guide of the organization will be better represented by company’s identity. Leadership, strategy, and management will build, develop and make that proposed (desired) identity. Going further, the metrics should also be immersed in a sustainable development way of thinking. However, what’s systematic thinking and which approach should you apply to develop the performance measures for your strategy?

Monitor the Digital Pulse of Organizations The multidimensional digital transformation provides impressive advantages in terms of the speed of delivering solutions and ability to adapt to changes. The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. Digital businesses nowadays are fast, always “on,” highly connected, interdependent, and ultra-competitive. Digital transformation is not a one-time project or a stand-alone initiative; it is a continuous journey to adapt to the new normal of the business world. As the business executive, how can you monitor the digital pulse of your company in order to lead changes steadfastly and manage the business effectively?

The blog is a dynamic book flowing with your thought; growing through your dedication; sharing your knowledge; conveying your wisdom, and making influence through touching the hearts and connecting the minds across the globe. The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.8 million page views with about #3500 blog posting. Among 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The Digital Board’s Digital Inquiries

The digital board’s digital inquiries intend to stimulate creativity and brainstorm the breadth and depth of digital transformation.

Corporate Boards have a couple of main functions such as strategy oversight, performance monitoring, leadership advising, governance practices, and resource provision. A high performing board would be performing all those roles in a way appropriate to the best interests of the organization and becoming the mastermind of digital transformation. Here is a set of digital savvy boards’ digital inquiries for leading business change in a structural way.

If the digital capability is dispersed, does it have the depth, resources, and cohesiveness to be effective? Do people work across functions to share best practices and ideas? The dynamic business environment organizations find themselves involving today is especially challenging as compared to years past. Competition is fierce and in many industries, products are becoming more commoditized putting pressure on pricing, margins, and investable budget dollars. And building capabilities becomes a constant process irrespective of the economic conditions. However, the business silos (information silo, structure silo, silo mentality, etc.) inherited from the industrial age are often the barriers to building high mature digital capabilities which are based on cross-functional interaction and process integration. The technological advancement will continue to help develop the integral digital capability. Businesses should leverage the emerging digital technologies to break down silos, in building the new breed of digital capabilities which are rigor, not rigid, standardized, but not lack innovativeness; disperse, but also cohesive. Technology actual shifts the efficient frontier out, rather than reaching an "efficiency" along the curve. Organizations are becoming smarter at reaching consumers, in a targeted and deliberate way, and consumers are becoming smarter at consuming and providing direct feedback to the organization. Hence, the well-run companies can leverage business resources and assets for building and tuning their cohesive set of business capabilities, also share the best and next practices to amplify their effect, for enabling strategy execution and catalyzing business growth and innovation.

Does the business possess the ability, desire, and discipline to cope with change along the way, no matter what happens? We live in a world where change is the norm and if we (either individual or business) don't embrace it, accept it, roll with it or make it happen, we're not going to be successful. Change is inevitable, change is not a one-time isolated initiative, but an ongoing business capability. A digital board with high-changeability can navigate the business toward the uncharted water and drive change more confidently. Digital boards should oversee Change Management because it is an overarching management discipline, and it often goes hand-in-hand with Strategy Management. Change is complex, change/culture management is an interdependent ecosystem that includes many business factors. It encompasses extensive planning, outreach, communications, the discovery of concerns/objections /potential points of failure, addressing fears and resistance, developing a shared vision, communicating valid and compelling reasons for cooperation, recognizing change champions and driving business success. The leadership team such as boards and top executive teams must push the change agenda, but pull the resources to achieve it.
How to discover the talent for the future business growth and business transformation?
It’s very important for any high performing organization to get the best alignment and leverage the great human potential that exists or is needed to achieve great business results and to tap into the passion of the people! Digital boards should set the tone for talent development and management. Corporations must take full responsibility for developing their workforce, creating career growth opportunity, and making their human assets ready for the next business advancement and organizational thriving. The future looks to have more real-time sharing of information and knowledge across industries and professions of the likes we have not seen yet. Social computing provides a convenient platform to engage diverse and intellect minds in brainstorming, co-creating knowledge, sharing insight, and co-solving our common challenges. So, organizations can discover the talent based on their expertise and influence, and explore the alternative digital channels for talent recruiting and development.

The digital board’s digital inquiries intend to stimulate creativity and brainstorm the breadth and depth of digital transformation. In today's work environment, change is happening at a more rapid pace. No one will have all answers, the success of digital transformation is based on open leadership, seamless collaboration and collective effort. And digitalization a journey full of adventure, with planning, innovating and executing.

The Modern CIOs’ Digital Mantra: Go Deeper to Lead Forward

CIOs need to have an in-depth understanding of the organizational interdependence in order to fine tune business structures and improve the strategic responsiveness of the business.

Organizations large or small are stepping into the deep, deep digital new normal with the overwhelming growth of information, continuous technological disruptions, as well as the VUCA” digital characteristics. The pace of changes in IT would force more CIOs to shift into transformation-oriented digital leadership roles because IT plays a significant role in driving the digital transformation of the company. Contemporary CIOs need to have multiple personas, explore the breadth and depth of the role and go deeper in order to lead forward.

CIOs should have the profound understanding about the digital ecosystem of the business: Running IT as the business becomes a new fixture for management in their efforts to substantiate their competitive position, effect market landscape, and drive new revenue growth. Digital IT is not just a service provider, but a business solutionary. The IT department provides guidance, support, assistance and direction in the application and adoption of information technology solutions in support of business objectives! Hence,  CIOs need to be able to recognize the struggles of the company by understanding the business beyond IT. The CIO must be a transformational leader that not only manages the IT group but also work to integrate and lead the integration, not the mere alignment of IT to business processes and present the strategic value proposition. In the end, it is not about technology, but what technology can do when it is enabling and integrating with change management and business processes to deliver strategic differentiation. Profits with ROIs, optimization for improving business efficiency should be the driving force behind IT management.  The breadth of the digital CIO role require IT leaders today to gain a deep understanding of the businesses ecosystem, including customers, employees, business partners, and all other stakeholders, the business's competitive landscape, industries, and leverage their technological visions for trendsetting and leading forward.

CIOs need to have an in-depth understanding of the organizational interdependence in order to fine tune business structures and improve the strategic responsiveness of the business: The “organizational structure design problem” would be to build the “best” mix of organizational elements (the supply side) that enable the organizational interdependence and responsiveness. Some organizations fail to capitalize on their great ideas because there was no structure in place to manage the ideas. What works and what doesn´t, depends on the nature of the organizational interdependence that needs to be enabled. Hence, IT is at the unique position to gain the in-depth understanding of the underlying business functions and processes, IT department is not a silo by itself and it draws its energy from within the organization. IT can be a "pioneering" division to walk the talk and lead the change within the organization. Because the latest digital technologies and collaborative tools provide great opportunities for the business to optimize the organizational design for improving cross-functional communication, mass collaboration, and harness innovation, with the ultimate goals to unlock the collective potential of the business. Structuring organizations to leverage its core and distinctive competencies is an important consideration for business optimization and strategy management.

CIOs should also gain the deep understanding of their talented people because they are the center of changes: Knowing something or somebody is not equal to understanding them well. Gaining deep understanding of people means truly knowing who they are, how they think, and who they want to become, not based on their physical identity, but seeing through their character, strength, thought process, learning agility, and personality. The variety of talent studies shows that the majority of people are not engaged in their jobs because their talent is not being utilized. One of the most challenging job for CIOs or any leaders or managers are to put the right people in the right position with the right capabilities to solve the right problems. The company can unleash its potential only via unlocking and amplifying their collective people potentials. Under awareness of the people-centricity, focus on which delivers the opportunity for increased productivity, greater efficiency, abundant creativity, and better engagement, you give employees the opportunity to thrive and as long as the roles of the functions remains clear, empower the staff to get on and do what they do best in the way that they do it best. When negative thinking and behavior are discouraged, creativity is inspired, change agents are recognized, then people feel supported and empowered, turf wars are less likely and information and wisdom more likely flow.

Due to the complexity of digital organizations and change nature of IT, modern CIOs have to go deeper in order to lead forward. The priority for CIOs is to genuinely position IT as an integral and inseparable part of the business. This is accomplished through establishing strong interdependent relationships, achieving operational excellence, improving staff/customer satisfaction and building superior sets of digital capabilities for making a leap of digital transformation.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Monthly “IT Innovation” Book Tuning: Rejuvenating IT to get Digital Ready May 2017

Within abundant information and emergent digital technologies, IT is a key component of holistic business mindset to re-imagine “what is possible” - unleashing business potentials and improving business efficiency, effectiveness, agility, and maturity. The art of possible to reinvent IT for the digital age is to deliver the value of information in helping businesses grow, delight customers and doing more with innovation.

Rejuvenating IT to get Digital Ready

Three Factors to Accelerate Digital Innovation? There is no doubt innovation is becoming more important whereas technology becomes more advanced in the digital era. In fact, the speed of change is expedited, so does the speed of innovation. Innovation is the core activity of human evolution, to change the environment for advancement; to reach performance for profit, to improve efficiency for saving of resources, to sell products/services for the satisfaction of customers. And digital innovation has much broader spectrum which includes both hard innovations such as products/services/processes/business model innovations, or soft innovations such as leadership/management/culture/communication innovation. Here are three factors to accelerate the pace of digital innovation. ?

Running an “I” driven Digital IT Organization Digital means the rapidly change, with an unprecedented level of unrepeatability and unpredictability. The ability of companies to consume and make sense of the information that is available to make good decisions or capture business insight for enforcing innovation within today’s digital dynamic is becoming a nearly insurmountable challenge. IT as the information steward, how to manage information well and unleash the full digital potential of the business?.

How to Rejuvenate IT via Overcoming IT Identity Crisis? It is the dawn of the digital era with an abundance of information and lightweight digital technologies.  Information is penetrating into every core process of the organization. IT plays a pivotal role in such a paradigm shift,  However, most of the business users or consumers lack a comprehensive understanding of IT. They either think IT as the shining technology toys /gadgets, or the help desk & maintenance center; they also perceive IT leaders as stereotypical technology geeks or arrogant IT nerds. To rejuvenate the shadowed IT image and fragile IT reputation, how can IT clarify its vision & mission, convey a clear & cohesive brand message,  overcome IT identity crisis, and build a reputable brand to improve its own and the overall business maturity??

The Multi-Color of Digital IT? IT is in the middle of a sea change, traditional IT organization is monolithic, monocolored, stereotypical, and slow to change. In order to improve the tarnished image of IT, digital CIOs must set principles and guidelines, but not overly restrictive rules to run digital IT with the enriched color of IT leadership, empowered IT talent teams and enhanced IT-business partnership to make a leap in digital transformation.

Setting Principles to Run an Innovative IT: Creativity is becoming increasingly crucial in today’s business environment because it breeds innovation. But it’s common that many IT companies tend to focus more on their core competencies and often forget about the value of innovation management. Without innovation, organizations would be upstaged by the competitors that are creative because disruptive innovation will happen no matter you prepare well or not. IT needs to become a business’s innovation engine because the intersection of IT and people is where innovation happens. So how to set principles to encourage creativity and run an innovative IT in a systematic way

The blog is a dynamic book flowing with your thought; growing through your dedication; sharing your knowledge; conveying your wisdom, and making influence through touching the hearts and connecting the minds across the globe. The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.8 million page views with about #3600 blog posting. Among 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

Setting Principles for Managing Digital Innovation

Innovation has to become the philosophy, and part of DNA in an organization.

The blurring border of the digital organization and its business ecosystem make the world hyper-connected, but also over-complex. Organizations today can no longer rely on a single individual or team to drive innovation, or still think innovation as a serendipity. Digital is the age of innovation, and innovation is what leads to differentiation. There are many ways to differentiate and, therefore, there are many ways to pursue innovation. But it’s also important to set principles and manage innovation in a structured way across the organizational scope and digital ecosystem.

Dissatisfaction with status quo is the psychology behind creative disruptions: Innovation management shapes bigger box, but the traditional type of management cannot look outside the box. When people get stuck at “we always do things like that” mentality, businesses will run in the mechanical mode; or most of the time, the company executives’ nervousness stems from the fear of failure and to some extent loss of control. But from the long-term perspective, the innovative management make more profit than those that weren't. So leaders need to understand that as they try to desperately cling to the conventional norms of "command and control" leadership that they are actually stifling the very creativity that their company depends upon for success and ultimately corporate survival in the long run. Hence, today’s digital leaders and professionals should learn how to see things differently and do things alternatively. Keep learning and adapt thinking out of the box, make plans, but be dynamic to make an adjustment, and lead innovatively.

Innovation has to become the philosophy, and part of DNA in an organization: To test for how 'creative' or accepting of 'creativity' a company is by asking - How does learning occur? How is success defined? And how is failure defined? However, most of the traditional organizations are “busyness” to focus only on the transactional effort. The challenge is to provide the most desirable environment to spur creativity or to build the culture of innovation. The best way to foster creativity is to help people to communicate in a way that instills confidence, not fear. Creating a culture of creativity is, by nature, a cultural change. Some innovative organizations provide “play time” to encourage creative thinking and experimenting.   As businesses get more cut-throat in the hyper-connected digital environment, innovation has to become the part of DNA in an organization for delivering unique products/services, improving employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

Prioritization provides a framework for focusing on creativity: Creativity can be in the form of an idea, a solution, or an approach. Prioritization is about managing constraints, you can't do everything; so which projects will you do to maximize the business value? Prioritization enables businesses to manage innovation with a focus, not for stifling innovation. Prioritization brings transparency to the organization. Prioritization forces people to be more creative, creating internal competition among new ideas and projects, to come up with better ideas, because now they know that their ideas will be discussed at the board level, and if chosen, they will be followed closely and manage more effectively to achieve business goals. So in company cultures where creativity not always valued, to involve everyone in creativity and to provide a focused approach to real business problems, companies could benefit from a structured approach.

The purpose of Innovation Management is not to promote innovation, but to manage innovation as a process: Innovation Management nowadays is more science than art. Most companies fail at innovation execution because they have no clear processes, nor understand the linkage required to work horizontally across departments, or a holistic approach to managing innovation. Starting with the end in mind - what you want to see or do or have, and then think backward from to what the next simpler step is, then back to what are the next simpler components, back to what you have at hand. In practice, managing innovation as a process involves the bulk of data, methods, and approaches, the complexity of processes encountered speaks in favor of scientific approach. What defines science from chance is the ability to repeat a process with the same resultant solution every time. Innovation processes need to be rigorous, not too rigid; innovation is the change, change management needs to be an integral part of innovation management.

Innovations succeed when failure is seen as a learning step to great success: Innovation and risk often go hand-in-hand. With creativity, "change" is made." With every "change," the risk is involved. Innovations fail because folks fear innovation. Innovation fails because there are too many disconnects that occur between the birth of a vision/concept and the process of turning it into a reality. The more dramatic and powerful the innovation is, the greater the risk would be. Innovations succeed when failure is seen as a learning step to great success. An overall framework for innovation with periodic reviews will help to sustain progress and minimize the risk of idea flops.

Setting principles and applying disciplines to innovation is to better align innovation management with strategy, to justify the initial investment in the program and the initial results for innovation management and measurement. Digital paradigm shift also includes the perspective of building a scalable innovation environment or innovation ecosystem. It is crucial to set innovation principles, fine tune innovation processes, capabilities, and develop a set of practices to manage innovation portfolio more effectively.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Five Principles to Manage Change

Change is a digital continuum.

Change is inevitable, organizational change has become a common practice within an organization, but too often changes are made as a reaction to outer impulses, crisis, and demands. Change Management is a complex management discipline due to the "VUCA" nature of digital organizations. How to set digital principles to improve Change Management effectiveness?

Understand psychological emotions behind changes: There is so much psychology in openness to new ideas and perspectives. There is not a one size fits all approach to addressing the different circumstance. People’s feelings need to be addressed. The question then becomes one of: "how well do we understand the individual, their goals, and how the change will affect them?" This usually requires a dialogue to answer their questions and address its relevancy. Spending time with people to find out what it is that drives them; what their issues are; what their fears and perceptions might be. Exploring why they are resistant might uncover some aspects of the change process that have been poorly designed or overlooked.  The other reason why is change so difficult could be the leadership factor. Leaders do not set a good example to be change agents. Collaboration is the route towards providing better and more tailored change management.

Change is just the vehicle to elevate you toward the ultimate destinations: It is the key to present the WHY first. Many organizations focus so heavily on the "doing" (the "how"), they lose sight of the "purpose," the "WHY" part of changes. A vision about changes provides the guiding light and direction. Then it is important for the managers to internalize the change. This is best done if they participate in the development of the vision. Primarily, the big WHY about change provides a way to inject enthusiasm, which is infectious and spurs the concept forward. Every process, every expenditure of time, money, or energy, and every assignment of resources should directly relate back to the "Why."  They need to think long and hard about what the change is for and how their part of the organization can contribute to it - and be as specific as possible.

Change Management can become more successful with people at the core of change, the cause of change and the purpose of change: Digital is the age of people. The human element of change entails a people-centric approach to change management styles. Empowering the workforce to embrace change is a most effective, efficient and result-oriented management in organizations. It's important that you make your employees feel like they are a big part of the changes that need to be made. There are two elements that are critical to bringing in the human element in a change management program. These are fairness and communication. Identifying the champions/agents, you should know who the guys on your team who can/are running with it. Support them and motivate them. Build a working environment that is conducive to change. Remember change management is a gradual process. Be flexible- change will always involve failures as well as success. Reinforce success but don't punish failures.

Change Management is an ongoing, continued process and dynamic capability within the organization: Change shouldn’t be treated as a singular occurrence. Change can not be just another thing that needs to be accomplished. It has to be woven into communication, process, and action of the organization. Management is a substantial and ongoing digital capability which not only creates changes but also adapts to changes seamlessly. A capability view of the enterprise helps business identify “actuality, capability, and potentiality,” to build competency and improve overall business maturity. Change Management is an important management capability which often not goes alone, but integrate with other management capabilities such as strategy management, talent management, performance management, etc.

It’s often more accessible to measure change readiness rather than change progress: The change needs to be defined in its base elements and associated benefits to be achieved. Not all elements of change are easily quantifiable, whereas some are in terms of hours, and dollars saved. Perhaps the difficulty in measuring Change Management is that the very thing you are measuring is changing. Measuring change involves first accurately identifying where you are now, and then, clearly identifying where you want to be once the change is complete. It's probably better and more accessible to measure change-readiness rather than change progress. It can be argued that if you have good change-readiness, then you will probably be better at change, measure the input, not the output. It's too late to do anything about it by then. The problem stems from the way outcomes are being measured. When the collective outcome is the focus, the silo walls collapse. When individual and departmental outcomes are measured, the walls go up. Whatever the measurement system is, it needs to be consistent, repeatable and as unbiased as possible.

The rate of change has accelerated, indicating that business leaders must learn how to strike a balance between managing complex issues today and predicting the uncertain issues of tomorrow. Closer to reality is that 'change' is continuously happening in the digital ecosystem of a company. Change Management success is not accidental, it requires a plan and strategy as well. Change is not for its own sake, a clear vision, effective communication, stepwise processes and exemplified change leadership are all the key success factors to overcome the challenges and manage changes smoothly.

CIOs as Linchpin to Strengthen Digital Transformation

Running IT as a business begins with understanding the true business needs, strengthens the weak links in the organization, and improves the business’s top-line business growth.

At the industrial age, IT is often one of the weakest links in the companies, running in a controller’s mode, slow to change. At the dawn of the digital era, leading businesses across industrial sectors claim they are in the information management business. The highly effective corporations need to embed the power of information in its fiber to weave agility and other business competencies, to ensure it is part of its mechanism and process to improve business responsiveness and decision effectiveness. They also have to leverage the power of the latest digital technologies to improve productivity and efficiency. Hence, CIOs as IT leaders should reinvent IT to strengthen the weakest links and catalyze digital transformation.

Strengthen the leadership links: The CIO is a leadership position. One of the core skills for a modern CIO to be successful is her/his capacity to collaborate with the board and her/his C-level peers and enable them to see the "light,” ignited by information and technology. How does any c-executive direct the creation of a business strategy that is increasingly dependent on technology and, competitive advantages that derive from the technology? As such, the CIO should be a productive member of the top leadership team and provide some active and unique insight and options.  He or she must look into opportunities for the business and then see what IT can do to grow it.When BoD/executive team recognize growth opportunities, the CIO can translate this into an IT-powered business solution that will support the company's vision, in the example to grow market share. The CIO has to become the trusted business partner and the critical link to the business being successful; this requires that you have other C-Levels' support that allows this kind of thought and direction. Businesses can empower their CIOs to voice and contribute more at the strategic level. It is extremely important that CIOs who want to and can work at the strategic board level, need to get the message outside of their own circles so that they can make an influence on organizational, industrial or even national scope and beyond.

Strengthen the links between business and IT: The CIO needs to know how to play a bridge between what businesses understand and what technology understands. CIOs should have great leadership traits, understand business strategy, processes, the latest technologies, and motivate IT team and master of business communication. They would make sure the two worlds meet to ensure an optimal performing business. CIOs are the business executive first, and IT manager the second. CIOs must be able to relay complex technical ideas in a non-technical manner to business leaders. This would then drive products and services for customers at the best possible cost and ensure as high as possible shareholder return on investment. CIOs can provide valuable insight in the form of money saved, revenue from new unexplored business idea etc., at the same time, CIOs should also collect feedback from business upon how to improve IT services & satisfy customers.

Strengthen the link between strategy and execution: CIOs can deliver the ‘competitive capability” to the business as many businesses will plateau without IT. Hence, IT plays a crucial role in strategy management and IT should do more to strengthen the link between strategy and execution via IT strategic planning and capability/process mapping.  However, most IT organizations have not mapped their IT services and systems, or the set of business capabilities to their business processes. Because it is the difficult work and doesn’t produce any immediate tangible results, so it runs counter to the short-term fiscal goals of many organizations. But, to best align mid and long-range strategic IT planning and budgeting with the business, this type of process-capability-strategy implementation mapping is highly useful to strengthen the link between strategy and execution and improve strategy management effectiveness.

High-performance IT organizations see new information technologies as a means to create value for the organization. Running IT as a business begins with understanding the true business needs, strengthens the weak links in the organization, and improves the business’s top-line business growth. So, IT can truly become the digital accelerator, innovator and trusted business partner.