Thursday, January 25, 2018

Three Digital Competencies Differentiate IT Leaders from Laggard

Running a nimble and innovative IT as a great business problems-solver enables the business building differentiated competency and accelerating change and digitalization.

Organizations rely more and more on information and technology. It is simply not sufficient to run IT as a commodity service provider. IT organizations have more and more to offer, but also have more obstacles to overcome. A clear understanding of what services or solutions are supporting business advantage is a strategic imperative. However, many IT organizations suffer from overloaded tasks for “keeping the lights on” only and get stuck at the lower level of maturity. Here are three digital competencies differentiate IT leaders from laggards.

Nimbleness: Traditional IT organizations are perceived as the controller, slow to change based on the fact that most IT organizations still run in a reactive and order-taking mode. The digital dynamic is where the digital disruption threatens to tear down legacy systems. More and more businesses expect the consumerization style responsiveness from IT, digital IT needs to become the change organization of the company. To adapt to the increasing speed of changes, organizations have to be more nimble about updating technology and managing information effectively. All forward-thinking organizations across the industries claim they are in the information management business. In the digital era with “VUCA” characteristics, timing is everything. Because digital provides abundant opportunities for business growth, also brings unprecedented risks to fail the business even overnight. IT has to not only improve its own speed and responsiveness but also overall organizational responsiveness and adaptability. Running a high-responsive IT organization needs to be nimble for change, have adaptability to meet the business’s expectation, and possess the flexibility to take different approaches, with the goal to create business synergy and achieve digital synchronization of the entire organization.

Innovation:
Innovations often happen at the intersection of people and technology. A leading digital IT should spend more resources on crafting unique business capabilities and capturing the business growth opportunities. IT is often the driving force for both incremental innovation and radical innovation, also the linchpin to connect an effective 'innovation ecosystem' that is capable of supporting both widespread incremental innovation in products/services and ways of working as well as the rarer breakthrough' innovation in products/services, methodology, business model, and market positioning. The digital mantra is to run IT as a software startup - IT entrepreneurialism becomes a new fixture for management in their efforts to create a new revenue stream, explore emergent business opportunities, substantiate their competitive position, affect the market landscape, and drive business growth. When IT executives move beyond commodity management and dedicate more resources to innovation and building business competency systematically, it is on the right track to build digital competency and maximize business potential.


Problem-Solving: Information grows rapidly and digital technologies are lightweight, powerful, intuitive, and fast. Information Management is not just about information or process, but a scientific management discipline for problem-solving. Organizations today have to aggressively leverage digital technologies, platforms, and tools as the enabler of communication, collaboration, social interaction, and brainstorming, for proactively engaging in problem-solving. In practice, the comprehensive solution to a business problem requires both cross-domain knowledge and breakdown of the silo mentality. IT also plays a crucial role in managing information to refine business insight for either solving problems or capturing growth opportunities. Insight is about seeing things via different angles, around the corner and beyond the obvious, to solve complex problems. IT has potential to become creative business problem solver because it is in the unique position to connect cross-functional dots and optimize the underlying processes to switch on the creative mode of the business through the interaction of ideas from different domains of thoughts and experiences, as well as divergent thought processes, so it can wander and be influenced by disparate associations brought up during exploring different problem-solving scenarios.

IT is the custodian of information solutions and data assets that can be applied in new and different ways to generate massive business value that far exceeds what other functions can incrementally bring to the table. Running a nimble and innovative IT as a great business problems-solver enables the business building differentiated competency and accelerating change and digitalization.

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