Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The “LOVE” Ingredients of IT Digitalization

The best IT leaders are great storytellers with the strong understanding of what the business does, how it does it, and how it could be better, to put emphasis on those “LOVE” theme.

With “VUCA” business new normal, the pervasive digitization brings both abundances of opportunities and unprecedented risks for the business’s surviving and thriving today. IT is in the unique position to oversee the business function, possess the broadest view of the organization, and take charge of the invaluable business asset - information. IT needs to be telling businesses about the varying opportunities and possibilities, as well as risks or perils. To add some holiday theme, CIOs should know how to articulate the “LOVE” ingredients of IT digitalization, for telling the full story with shapes and colors, not just part of the plot.

Logic: "Business logic" is a blanket term that covers several very different types of components such as algorithms, business rules, workflows, and integration logic. IT digitalization should follow the logical scenario to walk through different stages such as assessment, improvement, and measurement, etc. IT assessment (either via self-evaluation or the third party) is a great way to help identify what is right and wrong in your IT environment. Make a fair business assessment to help IT management get some objective perspectives on what you are trying to manage, develop and optimize the IT operational function within itself. Logically, the role of IT in the current business environment should be able to enable business outcomes or catalyze business growth. The seamless connectivity between IT and business lies in using the common business language to help businesses cross that bridge to IT. IT staffs need to understand the commercial end point of their work and being able to think IT from the outside-in business lens. IT digitalization improves the business performance and enforce business capabilities. The differentiation provided by digital IT - both innovative technologies and abundant information, allows companies to reach the "long-tail" customer that previously was impossible or uneconomic. The next logical step should be to work with stakeholders for developing the right set of measurement that shows how IT can achieve the strategic business goals on time, on budget and most importantly on-value.

Orchestrating: Digital IT is no longer just that support function which plays the background music only. Nowadays leading IT organizations are like the conductor to orchestrate digitalization of the entire company. The biggest IT challenge is the pace at which the IT executive's responsibility for business operations, efficiency, effectiveness, performance, and continuity is outpacing his or her authority to make those areas a success. Therefore, they should be able to both collaborate cross-functionally (not to manipulate), and coordinate with distant contributors to harmonize the digital symphony. The matter of fact is that they wouldn't be able to create a 'symphony' without the full participation of their team members. It is important for the CXOs to work with these roles in a business planning and support capacity to ensure that the information and IT services being delivered are what is needed for the business to play their music. IT is increasingly supportive of the competitive position and the business, IT can weave all important digital elements, optimize processes, time and risk whilst maximizing scalable solutions, to enable the business reaching the next level of digital management maturity.

Variety: Digital variety and workforce diversity are no long wallflowers for decoration, but a switch to turn on the digital way for harnessing innovation and accelerating performance. Focusing on digital variety will force you to confront new ideas, new materials and possibly embrace a new concept that you may have never imagined. Creative tension is important to switch on the “digital mode” of the business environment. Since innovation is fundamentally about breaking assumptions, having more assumptions uncovered will lead to greater innovation. the lack of variety of PoVs makes organizations non-optimal. Digital IT is dynamic, with a variety of teams to run the variety of IT portfolio. The variety of IT portfolio is to build a unique and varying set of business capabilities, to enforce change, harness innovation, and improve IT maturity. IT has to adapt to changes and drive digitalization via managing a healthy portfolio by continuous consolidation, simplification, integration, modernization, cloudification, innovation, and optimization.

Energizing: The traditional IT organization is often perceived as the controller and change laggard because it only responds to the business’s requests in a reactive way. But the digital era is all about changes, with increasing speed. Digital IT can energize the business via “doing more with innovation” and “making continuous deliveries.” IT leaders should create the condition that “making the continuous improvement” is the organizational culture -the collective mindset and attitude. Otherwise, complacency is maligned, people cannot get out of their comfort zone, and IT loses its steam and gets stuck at the lower level of maturity. With fierce competitions and digital convenience brought by technologies, IT leaders have to get really creative on how they architect and implement change, to ensuring IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next. The energetic IT can also follow “Keep IT Simple” principle, provide intuitive products or services to delight customers and engage employees, and make a tough leap from functioning to firm to delight.

The best IT leaders are great storytellers with the strong understanding of what the business does, how it does it, and how it could be better, to put emphasis on those “LOVE” theme. Digital transformation represents a break from the past, with a high level of impact and complexity. Transformation efforts need to be undertaken as the means of getting to a differentiated capability to accomplish a defined goal.


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