Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What are the Causes to IT Ineffectiveness

IT ineffectiveness is also caused by silo & “controller’s mentality” with “fixing symptom” practices.

IT is the spinal cord for the organization, integrating various functional capabilities to bring out technology-enabled business solutions, motivating the IT team to constantly deliver products/services for improving high-performing results and delighting both internal and external customers. However, most IT organizations today are still perceived as a cost center and get stuck at the lower level of maturity. What are the specific causes to IT ineffectiveness how to keep IT “digital fit,” and make IT the true business partner as the growth engine of the business?


IT ineffectiveness is caused by running IT via inside-out operation lenses only: The effective management of IT is not just within IT, to put another way, IT management is not just the business of IT department, it’s the responsibility of the entire company. The management of IT goes beyond IT because often information has to flow across functionally with the business ecosystem in order to capture the real business insight in a comprehensive way. IT is not just an isolated support function or acts as a controller only. Effective IT management means understanding every island of operation and every workflow process smoothly. Especially in the digital organizations empowered by digital technologies today, the traditional boundaries of business functions are disappearing or becoming very murky, it takes organizational scope support to enable data flow and manage business information life cycle smoothly. Hence, IT management effectiveness is not based on the inside-out IT operational lens, but through the outside-in business lens. CIOs need to act as the business leader first, and the technology manager second, they have to gain the comprehensive business understanding so that they would be able to identify true cost savings, workflow optimizations, and additional revenue opportunities for the entire company and improve its effectiveness and business competency. The proactive IT leaders and sponsors attend business reviews with the various business stakeholders in attendance and equally invited those business stakeholders to their IT forums, to share IT innovation, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats present within IT, they listen to the business for gaining in-depth understanding of the issues, put in action plans to run a high-effective business.


Silo thinking, overly rigid processes and the gaps between IT and business cause IT ineffectiveness: With increasing pace of changes, the process of changing a good business idea into an effective IT solution has become awfully complex and messy in many larger organizations. There is a combination of factors at work which indeed link closely to the issues around business-IT enablement. Too often IT is involved too late in the decision-making process, that causes communication gap and the gap between strategic goals and implementation. That also tarnishes IT reputation as the change laggard which cannot deliver what the business needs on time. Unless there are the collaborative and understanding environments, the perception is that IT is raising roadblocks. Hence, IT leadership needs to have the seat at the big table, sort through the issues, develop rationalizations and achieve mutually acceptable solutions that are then communicated up, down and across the enterprise. Digital strategy executions are not linear steps, but a dynamic continuum. IT also has to optimize business processes to improve effectiveness, you can not deliver value without "de-complexitizing" and make transparent what is being delivered and how or what is being delivered. As part of and in concert with the top management team. IT simplifying business processes following agile principles and common sense helps a great deal in improving predictability, which makes it easier to manage expectations, and improving its manageability and effectiveness.


IT ineffectiveness is also caused by the “controller’s mentality” with “fixing symptom” practices: The reason most of IT organizations get stuck in the lower level of maturity is because they are too busy on fixing the symptoms, or taking care of immediate problems, with ignorance of digging into the root cause of real problems, or putting too little resources on strategic initiatives. Many IT organizations act as the “controller role,” not a business enabler or change driver. The worst thing to do is just putting the policy in place to mandate it coming through IT since business will perceive IT as not a real business partner. What should be focused on is the integration of IT into the business decisions and processes. So, IT can proactively work as an integral part of the business to capitalize on opportunity via an in-depth understanding of the business and leading the digital transformation smoothly. To improve management effectiveness, IT has to dig through the root cause of old or emergent business issues and deliver the best solution to the business problems which meet business’s requirement for the long run and tailor customer’s needs, not just from an IT perspective, but from the business's viewpoint.


In fact, IT faces many management dilemmas, it’s often overloaded and understaffed, it has to become more innovative but also handle potential risks effectively; it needs to strike the right balance of maintaining a healthy “run, grow and transform” portfolio. To improve effectiveness, CIOs need to have information technology insight and foresight upon potential opportunities to retool business, re-imagine growth possibilities, set the right priority, and manage IT and business resource efficiently.

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