Monday, February 19, 2018

CIOs as “Chief Insight Officer”: Are You a Digital Shaper or a Follower?

Digital CIOs need to thrive for becoming the digital shapers, envision and participate to co-create the future proactively.

Nowadays, the unprecedented opportunities brought by digital technologies and increasing speed of change can lift up a fast growing business promptly. It can also reinvent a well-established organization to reach the next level of the business growth cycle. IT is no longer just a reactive support function only, but a change organization that keeps information flowing and enables business growing and drive digital paradigm shift.  CIOs as the top digital leader and “Chief Insight Officer” should do the self-reflection: Are you a digital shaper, digital adapter or just a laggard?

Shaping the digital vision: More often than not, technology becomes the game changer and innovation driver for businesses. Forward-looking organizations empower their IT organization to lead digitalization and become the digital shaper. CIOs need to have the technological vision and digital awareness in order to lead changes and drive digitalization. Therefore, visionary CIOs are in demand, being “Visionary" refers to taking the business strategy and having a vision of how the IT landscape, or IT organization etc., will look like in mid or long-term and how IT can bring opportunities to the business for catalyzing growth and building business competency. To become the digital shaper, the CIO needs to be a dynamic digital leader with open, growth and intelligent mindset, have high ability to handle change, ambiguity, manage impressions, enforce creative communications to suit situations so as to make things happen and drive change proactively. Sometimes the business users don't have a sense for the IT roadmap, and a clarified vision conveyed by CIOs helps them understand the multidimensional value IT can deliver, to bridge IT-business gaps and lift the business up to the next level of digital maturity.

Shaping the problem-solving culture: Information is permeating to every corner of the organization and technology is the disruptive force of digitalization. Therefore, IT leaders must proactively participate the vision and shape the future of organization via integrating hard business elements such as process, technology, people, and soft business elements such as culture, communication seamlessly and to execute the capability-based strategy effortlessly. IT leaders need to have business acumen and customer insight, CIOs need to become far, far more business focused and digital literate in order to become the digital shaper who can create the business synergy by shaping the problem-solving culture and building IT-enable business competency. IT needs to be the problem framer because a solution is useless if the problem is not perceived and the root cause is not scrutinized. CIOs need to develop, demonstrate and increase their problem-solving skills, thinking and problem-solving abilities are always and continued needs for CIOs to be the digital shaper.

Shaping the dynamic business competency: The characteristics of digital business are dynamic, volatile, uncertain, and hypercompetitive. IT, is, in fact, the strategic competency of the business. To become the digital shaper, CIOs have to develop a set of organizational competencies and shift IT reputation from a cost center to a value creator. IT is the value-added delivery that makes the organization different and competitive. IT is the key ingredient and integrator of the business capabilities. Leveraging unique IT knowledge and expertise to build business competency is crucial for the business's long-term growth and maturity. Keeping IT dynamic is crucial for adapting to unforeseen urgent changes in the business or other fields. Many components of business capabilities are common and reusable across the enterprise. To shorten the time cycle and save the cost of building business capabilities, it is also critical to develop the dynamic business capabilities interwoven by IT to adapt to changes and improve the business responsiveness and performance.

Digital CIOs need to thrive for becoming the digital shapers, envision and participate to co-create the future proactively. They need to have strong digital awareness, understand how they relate to others, which speed they could swim in the uncharted water; what competency needed for the business’s surviving and thriving, and how IT can contribute to the top line business growth and unlock the full digital potential of the business.

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