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.

Friday, March 31, 2017

The New Book “Digital Gap” Quote Collection II

Bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge.

Digital Gaps -Bridging Multiple Gaps to Run Cohesive Business” is a guide book to help digital leaders and professionals today identify, analyze, and mind multiple gaps with multidisciplinary insight and holistic understanding. Today’s digital organization simply just can’t stand still. Bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge and a stepwise approach to making a leap of digital transformation.


25 Traditional management is based on reductionistic methodologies with silo effect, and holistic digital management focuses on running a living business with broader collaboration.


26 Silos build the wall in people’s minds and tie the knots in their hearts.


27 The design of strategy is definitely more important, but executing a strategy is more time consuming and challenging.


28 Strategic managers see “blue ocean” currents; operational managers see “red ocean” currents.


29 Ask the big WHY and discover the purpose behind either goals or objectives.


30 First seeking to understand, then be understood.


31 Innovation becomes simply “creating value” by solving simple or complex problems.


32 Transformation requires mind shift.


33 The knowledge Management culture needs to fit with the overall organizational culture.


34 To make change sustain, the important thing is “end-to-end” performance.


35 Change Management can become more successful with people at the core of change, the cause of changes and the purpose of change.


36 The capability is the ability to do something and achieve certain outcomes in a consistent way.


37 First things first frame the right questions before answering them, ensure doing the right things before doing things right.


38 Learning becomes the knowledge builder and we can define learning through the information it absorbs and the capability it builds.


39 Bridging innovation gaps is a strategic imperative for business execution.


40 We need to choose to continue to learn, grow and empower people to learn and grow too.


41 Capability view is for the strategic re-think of “What,” and the process view is about the executable knowing “How.”


Performance Management vs. Decision Management

The business management is, in essence, the decision management and performance management continuum.

Enterprise performance management is about how the organization manages performance— STRATEGIC and OPERATIONAL plans, METRICS, day-to-day decisions structurally. Business decision management is how the organization leverage tools, systems, and people to weigh in varying factors for improving decision effectiveness across the organization. All companies have resource constraints, and that performance management, per definition, is “overhead.” This would imply that there exists a trade-off between the realization of value through formalizing and structuring performance management processes and practices and the attached costs. To strike the right balance between business effectiveness and efficiency, performance management and decision management are interdisciplinary management disciplines which need to go head-in-head in order to improve the overall organizational maturity.


Enterprise Performance Management is more as decision management: All company’s performance is directly related to the decisions people make every day, from executives to the frontline, across functional areas and regions. Performance management facilitates the flow of the right information to the right people at the right time to make the right decisions, to help and coordinate the business strategy, tactics, and risks, for making continuous performance improvement. Enterprise Performance Management is the integration of multiple methods with each embedded with business analytics, such as segmentation analysis, and especially predictive analytics, to achieve the strategy and to make better decisions. Furthermore, in modern socially responsible companies, it isn't just about WHAT (performance result) you have achieved, but also about HOW (the decision-action scenario), you have achieved it. The HOW aspect is unavoidably subjective because it stems from perceptions. It doesn't mean that these aspects should be disregarded because they are not objective, but it does mean that good principles and guidance need to be formulated for making effective decisions and deployed on consistently measuring and interpreting these "softer" aspects of achieving high-performance results.


The business management is, in essence, the decision management and performance management continuum: After making strategic decisions and starting implementing processes, it is important to follow-up to ensure proper and effective implementation. Once you make a decision, then you must take actions, or you really have accomplished nothing towards solving the challenge that faces you and your organization. So, the further questions are needed to keep track of actions and results: ‘Who is to take action?' 'How will we know the action is completed?' and 'What is the consequence of not taking action’?  At traditional companies, both strategic decisions and operations decisions are often based on static or even outdated information available and the “gut feeling” of decision makers. Now at the dawn of the digital era, the abundance of information flow, click-away knowledge, and the more advanced digital technologies make it possible to gain real-time insight and business foresight in making effective decisions. And the proper set of performance metrics will help present the tangible results via action taken, also make it possible to improve the future decision making. Due to the complexity and volatility of modern organizations, it is very hard to measure important things, such as performance objectively and meaningfully. Therefore, it should have decision mechanism embedded into performance management. Performance assessment has a human component, which cannot be eliminated by any metric. The participants have to make decisions from setting criteria to select performance indicators to measure things right and be capable of interpreting the measurement objectively.


The strategic decision making focuses on setting the holistic business vision and goals, and the performance management needs to ensure the whole is superior to the sum of pieces: The issue of Performance Management measurement isn't about accuracy, but of validity and reliability. It’s important to measure performance success in meeting the business vision and strategic goals which are set by the strategic decision makers of the organization. One of biggest pitfalls for performance measurement is measuring the “part” with ignorance of the “whole.” In other words, the decision makers need to assess: What are the organization's rewards and recognition structure perpetuating? does this measure what you want to measure, and if you measure repeated times, all things being equal, would you get similar results? If your work involves a standardized process where you have to follow a procedure to get to the desired outcome (like following a recipe) then performance is highly measurable. The performance 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.  Differentiated performance metrics and rewards systems tend to bring this shift in perspective. Your measures should cover all areas that contribute to value creation including service quality, employee engagement, customer satisfaction and financial outcomes.


At today's digital dynamic, performance management and decision management need to go hand-in-hand, not only measure things right, more importantly, measure the right things to ensure effective decision-making for driving continuous performance improvement. Performance management must be such that it encourages and drives stretched goals or KPIs; encourages people to take initiatives, catalyze innovations and compete in a professional way. It is also important to break down silo thinking, leverage trade-offs, to ensure business as a whole achieving the optimal business result.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 3/31/ 2017

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking, brainstorming, and innovating.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.8 million page views with 3600+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Here is the weekly insight about digital leadership, IT Management, and Talent Management.


  The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 3/31/2017
  • Digital Transformation: From Deficiency & Inefficiency to Proficiency and profundity We are at the dawn of digital age with the exponential growth of information, continuous disruptions, tremendous changes, hyper-connectivity, and interdependence. When led effectively, organizations can take the path to the next level of business effectiveness, innovation, and maturity; when led without a clear vision or thoughtful planning, it means information overloading, further confusion, and business ineffectiveness. It does raise the bar for digital leadership as well. As transformative digital leaders, can you participate proactively, look optimistically and engage constructively toward needs to be able to recognize areas of deficiencies and inefficiencies, then ask the open questions such as “What if?” and 'How about...?' And lead your organization to reach the level of proficiency and profundity?.


  • The New Book “Digital Gaps” Chapter 1 Introduction: Cognitive Gaps Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge through thoughts, experiences, and senses. It is a perception, sensation, and insight. People are different, not because we look differently, but because we think differently. Cognitive gaps enlarge problem-solving gaps because it will cause the blind spots for either defining the real problem or solving it. Cognitive gaps cause innovation gaps which disconnect many things that are supposed to be interconnected, it becomes the barrier for connecting the dots to stimulate creativity. There is the multitude of perspectives on the cognitive gaps, as well as how to close them.


  • The BoDs’ Digital Profiles Due to the “VUCA” digital normality, organizations today have to live up with the business dynamic which is uncertain, ambiguous, complex and flux. Board as high-level governance body plays a crucial role in business advising and monitoring, as well as setting key tones in organizational culture style and leadership quintessential. Corporate boards also need to advocate changes and become the mastermind behind the digital transformation. Hence, today's BoDs need to be insightful, influential, strategic, and highly effective. The best fit for the board depends on the Board’s current makeup and culture and which "gap" needs to be filled. Here is a set of digital BoDs profiles?


  • CIOs as Chief Insight Officer: How to Run IT from a Controller to a Digital Catalyzer  Due to the accelerating speed of changes and exponential growth of information, IT running in an industrial mode as a business controller or a restraint only no longer fits in the dynamic business circumstances or volatile digital new normal. Forward-looking companies are empowering their IT organization to lead changes and drive digital transformation. But more specifically, how to run IT with the growth mentality and digital speed? How to improve IT organization's maturity from a support function to a digital catalyzer?


  • The Interdisciplinary Approach to Digital Transformation Compared to changes, the transformation is more radical, digital transformation is not just about experimenting the latest digital technologies or playing the fancy digital gadgets. You have to optimize the underlying functions, processes as well as fine-tune soft business elements and expand changes to all directions; you have to take an interdisciplinary approach and collective leadership to manage a digital transformation successfully.   


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 New Book “Digital Gap” Quote Collection I

We still live in the era in which information is rich and insight is poor.

Digital Gaps -Bridging Multiple Gaps to Run Cohesive Business” is a guide book to help digital leaders and professionals today identify, analyze, and mind multiple gaps with multidisciplinary insight and holistic understanding. Today’s digital organization simply just can’t stand still. Bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge and a stepwise approach to making a leap of digital transformation.


1 Today’s digital organizations simply just can’t stand still. Bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge.


2 We still live in the era in which information is rich and insight is poor.


3. The real critical thinking has creativity embedded deeply in the thought processes, and it has the ability to catch the trends and discover hidden connections.


4 Silo thinking builds the wall in people’s mind and sets barriers in humans’ heart.


5 In the real, physical world or business world, most relationships are nonlinear.


6 With increasing rate of changes, the organization needs to be adapted in such a way that it can respond effectively to the dynamic changes and to the variety in the environment.


7 Human’s mind is the most valuable thing to shape every progress, but also the root cause of all mankind problems.


8 The depth of perspective and strength of character are what make thinking profound.


9 Perception is the way one’s eyes see the surrounds and one’s mind interprets it.


10 Insight is a perception beyond the thought, a multi-dimensional cognizance, and it’s the experience to explore oneself, surrounds and beyond.


11 Knowledge pertains to knowing and to intelligence while wisdom has to do with the soundness of judgment.


12 The more gaps a leader can bridge, the more significant influence she or he can make.


13 The primary role of leadership is about creating change while the primary objective for management is creating order.


14 Trust is a collective mind - the corporate culture. You can’t build and nourish trust without creating a conducive environment of trust.


15 From a leadership perspective, the liking has to be qualified and be able to garner respect.


16 The substance of leadership will never change, it is about the direction to change.


17 Top leadership roles are supposed to be the guiding force in the enterprise, envisioning and leading the business towards its future.


18 All leaders need to ask questions, but they also need to assist in providing answers, to bridge the gap between questions and answers.


19 Be humble to learn; be hungry for the insight; be skillful to frame the right questions and behold to the metrics.


20 The digital leader requires being confident to create and manage changes, being both strategic and hands-on.


21 Transformation is about why and what, and transaction is about how.


22 Having a title only doesn’t make one a leader; talented people without a title don’t follow blindly, they practice leadership via influence.


23 Leadership is all about change.





Mastering Digital Innovation: From Innovation Fatigue to Innovation Blossom

Innovation success demands insight, understanding, patience, persistence, and courage, among other things for reaping the benefit from innovation.

Digital is the age of innovation. Innovation is the business management capability to transform novel ideas and achieve its business value. And innovation is what leads to differentiation. Due to the hyper-complexity of modern businesses, innovation is essentially about reducing the unnecessary business complexity to tackle the complexities of business dynamic. For many traditional organizations, innovation is still the serendipity, even they work very hard on it, but innovation has very low success rate. So, what are the root causes of ineffective innovation management, and how to shift from innovation fatigue to innovation blossom?




Group Thinking can cause innovation drain: Many organizations are still managed through overly restricted hierarchical management discipline which discourages “Thinking differently.” In these organizations, people consciously or subconsciously protect their status quo and stifle changes. To be truly creative means challenging conventional wisdom and beliefs, and making progress intellectually and psychologically. It is important to create the working atmosphere encouraging creativity and avoid group thinking. Lead the team through facilitation to get what the discussion requires. Everyone grows up with a different style and the business cultures in which they've worked will shape how confident they are. One can't force others to think creatively. It should come from individual self-esteem and curiosity, with the purpose of creating innovation-based fulfilling work and making things that people really need. People also have different experience and personality, therefore, they may have the different ways to develop creativity or provide feedback. The ideal innovation management system is to tap into everyone's skills and talents, without the typical impediments to cooperation, to keep creativity flow smoothly. Breaking the old rules is important for radical innovation, but it doesn’t mean to be “ruleless,” get lost or lack of focus. The right set of ‘rules’ is not for limiting your imagination, but for framing the system to identify opportunities and mitigate risks.


Lack of innovation execution capability: Innovation management is about the full cycle of idea creation and implementation for achieving the business value. Innovation has three phases: Discovery of a problem or new idea, designing a prototype solution and the ultimate delivery of a commercially astute outcome. That the best point of view is to see innovation as a system, capable of delivering organization-wide capability. Most companies experience innovation fatigue and fail at innovation execution because they have no clear process, nor understand the linkage required to work horizontally across departments, or a holistic approach to managing innovation. There are many areas within a company where the innovation process can be applied to create value, including both “hard” innovations such as products/services/processes/business model innovations and soft innovations such a communication/culture/management innovation. Innovation Management System should include policies, structure, and program that innovation managers can use to drive innovation. Remove any of the three, you're liable to fail. Hence, it is important to look at innovation from the perspective of developing business-wide innovation capabilities. The good or bad innovation would depend on the business’s aptitude to manage innovation. And the aptitude is based on the set of tools, structure, and talent, which are better equipped to manage innovation by allocating time and resource to the people in charge. Innovation is a disciplined approach and differentiated business capability to discovering and building opportunities in creating new meaningful sources of value to targeted users.


Lack of a risk-tolerance culture: Failure is part of innovation; it is very much an intrinsic part of innovating, the job of management is to help when a failure happens to turn it around as a team, fail forward and learn some lessons from it. In fact, the differentiation between a good innovation and bad innovation is the innovation leaders’ attitude toward risks. Failure should not be an offense and actually, if there are not a few failures, then you are not trying hard enough. Innovation is always the tough journey, not a flat road. Many traditional companies, especially large corporations, often suck at innovation, because they become too dependent on satisfying corporate regulation or protocols, and not get around to developing a culture that fosters/rewards innovation until it is too late. The positive attitude for inspiring innovation is to be cautiously optimistic, take calculated risks and be alert about obstacles or pitfalls. Hence, innovation management takes a balancing act to have enough failure and an environment that encourages learning from failure quickly and cheaply, without having failures that are too frequent or too expensive. At the age of innovation, failure is seen as a fruit full of experience. Failure is part of innovation. The organizations with the healthy innovation appetites should enjoy the balanced innovation portfolio with well mixed radical innovation and incremental innovation projects.


The key to innovation blossom is the open leadership that keeps sowing innovation seeds, build a healthy innovation portfolio, like the gardener takes care of the plants, understand both their nature and nurture their growth diligently. It demands insight, understanding, patience, persistence, and courage, among other things for reaping the benefit from innovation.



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The BoDs’ Digital Profiles

The BoDs need to have the complementary thinking styles, cognitive understanding, capabilities, skills, and experience to lead seamlessly.

Due to the “VUCA” digital normality, organizations today have to live up with the business dynamic which is uncertain, ambiguous, complex and flux. Board as high-level governance body plays a crucial role in business advising and monitoring, as well as setting key tones in organizational culture style and leadership quintessential. Corporate boards also need to advocate changes and become the mastermind behind the digital transformation. Hence, today's BoDs need to be insightful, influential, strategic, and highly effective. The best fit for the board depends on the Board’s current makeup and culture and which "gap" needs to be filled. Here is a set of digital BoDs profiles.


Visionary BoDs: BoDs and C-level roles are supposed to be the guiding force in the enterprise. Thus, BoDs as top leadership roles need to envision and lead the organization towards its future. BoD leadership needs to be future oriented. A visionary changes the course of business by seeing beyond what all others could see or by charting new revenue or growth through the creation of a new product or market. Vision should have a direction which sets in clarity. BoDs with the visionary mind have the ability to think the past, perceive what is now and foresee the future. The most important thing is that you believe in your vision and many follow your vision. Setting a vision that isn't high enough doesn't challenge the organization to excel. But establishing a vision that is based on unrealistic expectations will either discount the value of even creating the vision or disenfranchise stakeholders.


Skeptical BoDs: Digital BoDs with the right dose of “doubt” are real critical thinkers who can ask deep questions. The constructive skepticism leads to creative problem-solving and innovative solutions. Knowledge is important but more than that is complete awareness of what is happening in the context, be skeptical of conventional wisdom. Once you do that, you use your ability to classify the elements and know their linkage and capture the insight to understand things thoroughly. The BoDs as the business critic can provide excellent feedback which gives the top management accurate information to improve; great questions to self-aware; and keen insight to gain the in-depth understanding of the digital ecosystem. They challenge conventional thinking as a sole path; add the new perspective via intuition; removes reactive thinking and negative self-talk, and add proactive interactions no matter what is the situation; eliminate stereotypical thinking and leverages intuitive listening to capture the important information for decision-making.


Strategic BoDs: The corporate boards play the critical role in overseeing strategy and setting tones for digital transformation. Thus, the BoDs need to gain the deeper understanding about the enterprise in order to be a credible actor in the strategic dialogue. The Board members must be competent with unique insight with the right knowledge/ experience. The board represents the ownership and they really cannot do a good job if they don't have the knowledge to challenge and set the broad strategic goals. This requires a major time commitment. As a good strategy has always to diagnose the key business problems/issues, set the guidelines, make a set of choices, and include a series of actions. Boards need to spend their efforts on developing and understanding strategy so they can set the vision and broad goals clearly. They need to educate themselves by hearing different views about the organization, its environment, and strategic alternatives, so they can provide valuable input and oversee strategy effectively.


IT Savvy BoDs: IT savvy BoDs are in demand because IT is a key enabler of future capability and a critical aspect of continuing business activities in organizations. The foremost thing for BoD is to realize that IT is strategic; and as such, it should be a distinct part of the business strategy telling how to maintain compliant and secure and how to enable business growth. While directors bring many competencies to the table, most do not have access to information about innovation and its potential related to the businesses. Companies should establish on-going avenues to information which will regularly feed BoDs understanding about trends and potential innovation for their businesses. A tech-savvy board with IT savvy BoDs will have the advantage of pulling enough resources and pushing the business model of technology, innovation and ensure what happens next.


Outlier BoDs: The outlier BoDs are “out of the box” thinkers who can bring the fresh viewpoint and connect the unusual dots for stimulating innovation across the industrial or territorial boundaries. Digital is the age of innovation, innovation is one of the keys to the success of an organization. Smart companies are reaching beyond the borders of their organizations to explore innovation. The corporate board should play a significant role in both innovation management and management innovation. Innovation is too important to leave solely in the hands of the management team without any oversight or guidance. BoDs should participate, or even lead in the area of innovation from outliers’ viewpoint. BoDs are, in fact, they are in the unique position to practice out-of-thinking and bring the broader perspective to complement the management’s possible “tunnel vision.” The effective board brings together such a tremendous skills and experience mix that there are bound to be board members whose ideas could feed into new business innovation.


The digital BoDs’ profiles are varying. The BoDs need to have the complementary cognitive understanding, thinking styles, capabilities, skills, and experience to lead seamlessly. A digital-savvy board has the advantage of pulling enough resources and pushing the business model of technology, trustworthiness, changeability, innovation, and mastering digital fluency to make profound leadership influence.

The New Book “Digital Gap” Conclusion: Bridging Gaps to Catalyze Digital Maturity

Bridging multiple digital gaps is one of the significant steps in digital strategy management, create the synergy for orchestrating the digital symphony.

Digital is the new paradigm shift to deeply connect the business with the nature ecosystem. Digital make the business flatter and the world smaller because of its nature of hyper-connectivity and interdependence. On one side, the idea of digital lenses is to help people reach a shared understanding of “see the whole” for solving problems holistically and systematically; on the other side, digital indeed enlarges the thinking and capability gaps because different organizations, functions, and individuals evolve with varying speed. Hence, bridging the multitude of digital gaps is challenging, especially today, many organizations are still operated with the silo mentality and practice the traditional management discipline. Hence, this book “Digital Gaps” intend to throw some light for guiding both digital leaders and professionals today to identify, analyze, and close the multiple digital gaps in a systematic way, and gain an in-depth understanding of the deep, deep digital reality.


Bridging collaboration gaps to harness innovation: With emergent digital technologies and collaboration tools, it is more convenient for scaling collaboration and enforcing innovation. Some companies have created institutional platforms that focus on building longer-term relationships, sustaining collaboration, allows participants to develop subject knowledge over time and focus more directly on business objectives and driving digital transformation. It also involves hiring the right talent, setting up the crucibles to allow for greater innovation within the teams that are close to product development/sales/marketing/distribution, collaborating strategically across lines of business, understanding and speaking the common business language.


Bridging resource gaps for maintaining the digital balance: In order to adapt to the fast-paced changes, organizations today need to bridge resource gaps and streamline digital flows. In other words, try to digitally connect key resources/assets in their vicinity/context to the resource-rich innovation hub/clusters across the business ecosystem. In doing so, you can create the collegiality and shared context for learning, to keep information flow and strike the right digital balance for the digital business ecosystem.


Bridging insight gaps to improve decision maturity: The digital era is volatile, complex, uncertain, and ambiguous, to get into the deep, deep digital reality, businesses today must bridge the insight gap to both frame problems and solve them effectively. In the static and command-control industrial era, when conformity to expectations is very highly encouraged, and independent thinkers are often seen as troublemakers. However, digital is the age of innovation, and inclusiveness must become the part of your business DNA, to avoid group thinking, bridge insight gaps, improve decision maturity, and cultivate the culture of learning agility.


Bridging multiple digital gaps is one of the significant steps in digital strategy management, to create the synergy for orchestrating the digital symphony, enforcing deep understanding of the necessity of systems awareness, accelerating digital flow, discovering the alternatives to problem-solving, and making a leap of business transformation.

"Digital Gaps" B&N Order Link

"Digital Gaps" iBook Order Link

"Digital Gaps" Amazon Order Link

"Digital Gaps" Introduction, Slideshare

"Digital Gaps" Chapter 1 Cognitive Gaps

"Digital Gaps" Chapter 2 Leadership Gaps

"Digital Gaps" Chapter 3 Management Gaps

"Digital Gaps" Chapter 4 Capability Gaps

"Digital Gaps" Chapter 5 Professional Gaps

Conclusion: Bridging Gaps to Catalyze Digital Maturity

CIOs as Chief Insight Officer: How to Run IT from a Controller to a Digital Catalyzer

There is no one size fits all digital formula for the digital shift, every IT organization has to set its own pace, explore its own sets of best practices and next practices, to build business competency and elevate digital maturity.

Due to the accelerating speed of changes and exponential growth of information, IT running in an industrial mode as a business controller or a restraint only no longer fits in the dynamic business circumstances or volatile digital new normal. Forward-looking companies are empowering their IT organization to lead changes and drive digital transformation. But more specifically, how to run IT with the growth mentality and digital speed? How to improve IT organization's maturity from a support function to a digital catalyzer?


IT as the business growth catalyzer: Thanks for the latest lightweight digital technologies, IT organizations are shifting from the monolithic industrial mode to mosaic digital style. Running IT as a business catalyzer means that IT does no longer live in a silo as a commodity no one care about if the “lights are on.” Rather, there are very few businesses today can state that IT does not play a significant role in the long-term strategic positioning of the company, and all forward-thinking organizations claim they are in information management business. Nowadays, IT is a significant part of the business strategy, and not simply as a tool or mechanism to support business goals, but a business enabler and digital engine.  Digital IT catalyzes information flow and drives business changes proactively. To catalyze business, IT has to recharge itself as well, to engage IT employees and digitalize its own processes. At the age of IT consumerization, businesses need to understand not only the power and the opportunity information could bring in, but also the potential risks they might get exposed to. A good relationship between business and IT becomes visible by clearly defining tasks, authorities, and responsibilities to manage both opportunities and risks accordingly. IT involves co-creating business strategy. IT is switching from inside-out operation-driven to outside-in customer focus. This will allow IT to shine in both roles –as enabler and driver. IT proactively works as an integral part of the business to capitalize on opportunity via leading the transformation, or IT delivers the best solution to the business problems which meet business’s requirement or tailor customer’s needs. When maintaining a clear and efficient bottom line, with enough forward thinking to 'plan in' growth, and this dimension allows the IT organization to manage information and apply digital technologies to pour more on the top line.


IT as a business innovation catalyst: To transform IT from a controller to a catalyst, the digital mantra for forward-looking IT organizations is to "Do more with innovation." Innovation management is about transforming new ideas to achieve its business value. Hence, CIOs need to have business insight, not just through IT lenses, but via global business lenses. Then, they can practice that knowledge to start innovating at the organizational level and across business ecosystem. Digital catalyzes the culture of innovation due to the convenience of learning and sharing. How these ideas are recognized, filtered and dealt with well become a crucial factor in an organization's success in producing digitized products and services. IT can reframe business processes to keep ideas flow and implemented in continuous mode. Innovation follows basic rules which are adapted depending on the one company’s situation and ambition. IT can drive all sorts of innovation, proactively pushing ideas on how to leverage technologies to drive business growth, increasing business productivity, digitizing talent management, building business competency and improving customer satisfaction. To run IT as a business innovation catalyzer, IT leaders need to encourage their teams to spend more time with leaders on the business side as well as directly with customers, because a high-effective and high-innovative digital IT is about top-line business growth by maximizing ROI to add up overall business value in the second dimension.


IT as the change catalyzer and digital accelerator: Digital is also about increasing the speed of change, hyperconnectivity, and fierce competition. A digital IT can both adapt to change and create necessary change effortlessly. Running a digital IT means to synchronize with business speed via integration and optimization, not just alignment and consolidation. Because enterprises have always been parts of simple and complex digital ecosystems, so to function seamlessly, an enterprise has to be linked to the many and varying touch points between itself and its dynamic environment. What should be focused on is the integration of IT into the business decisions and processes to be highly responsive. IT should proactively facilitate the business partners to the right solutions and help to implement them with speed. Nowadays speed matters for businesses’ surviving and thriving; speed matters for businesses to adapt to changes; to grasp the opportunities for marketing expansion; speed matters for building the new capabilities, gaining competency for the business’s continuous improvement.


Digital transformation represents a break with the past, with a high level of impact and complexity. Therefore, running IT as a digital catalyzer is easy to say, and hard to achieve. It takes very solid leadership, focus, and the ability to build strong relationships with all levels of the organization. CIOs have to know both the business and the technology side of things. You cannot know only one piece of the equation. It means that the CIO’s niche leadership is based on the strategic mindset, multifaceted knowledge, and business understanding, as well as anticipated leadership styles. There is no one size fits all digital formula for the digital shift, every IT organization has to set its own pace, explore its own sets of best practices and next practices, to build business competency and elevate digital maturity.