Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Faster, Fitter and Deeper: How to Run IT as Business Differentiator

 When IT moves beyond commodity management and begins to show a higher level of strategic value and dedicate more resources to innovation, IT is on the right track to improve its performance and maturity.

With fast-paced changes and technology-driven business disruptions, there is no doubt IT plays a critical role in both improving business bottom line to “keeping the light on,” and top-line business growth. Information is permeating into every corner of the organization; business initiatives, changes, and transformation today nearly always involve some form of technology implementation. IT is no longer that monolithic support function hidden behind; faster, fitter, and deeper - how to run IT as a business differentiator?

Faster: The traditional IT organization is often perceived as the change laggard and controller, only responding to the business’s requests in a reactive way and operated in a surviving mode. This is perhaps OK in considerably static industrial age. But now we are moving in the fast-growing digital economy, the emerging trends and unprecedented risks sometimes can disrupt the business even overnight. IT must speed up for delivering the qualified business solutions. timely. IT is always in the changing environment, with increasing pace, creating unexpected situations and requiring quick and appropriate responses based on the business conditions. It is crucial to keep information and knowledge flow in the digital ecosystem. The type of speed issues (such as IT slow to change) comes from gaps created between IT and the rest of the company. From old experience in IT management, good and faster doesn’t always go together; you have to make some tradeoff; but with emerging IT consumerization, lightweight and more powerful technologies, IT has better opportunities to speed up and achieve the state of equilibrium through process and structure optimization. For enterprise application development, it is best to clarify the business goal, engage all people involved working together as a team to excel, shorten the IT management cycle, make sure you have the best solution that meets the organization's needs, budgeting time and finances accordingly to avoid costly headaches and ensure on-value delivery with accelerated speed. The main issue is that the IT and business working together to speed up the organizational vehicle as well as deliver business success.

Fitter: The majority of IT organizations still get stuck at the lower level of maturity because they spend the significant time, cost and resource to maintain the heavy out of date IT system and legacy application, and are perceived as the cost center. To keep digital fit, it means that IT has to keep consolidation, modernization, automation, integration, optimization, and innovation, IT has to set the right priority, prune the weed regularly, and manage digital transformation in a systematic way. From IT talent management perspective, keeping digital fit means fitting mindset, fitting attitude, fitting structure, and fitting speed. “Fit” doesn't mean that everyone needs to have the same thought process, the same personalities, the same preferences, or the same experiences. Fitting” doesn’t take cookie cutting approach, digital fit embraces different approaches, different opinions, different backgrounds, different thought processes, and different skill sets in order to build high performance IT team with differentiated competency.


Deeper: Traditional IT organizations often function as the help desk to fix the symptoms without digging into the root cause of issues or perform routine industry best practices without second thoughts. When IT has “we always do things like that,” or it’s in a “command & control” mode, they are not deep enough. IT is in the unique position to oversee the underlying business processes and organizational structure holistically. Deeper IT provides varying perceptions on how to solve thorny business problems. Modern IT organizations have to build a good reputation as the problem solvers of their companies, not just to take the band-aid approach to fix the symptom, but to leverage the business insight to diagnose the root cause. It can dive deeper to see the hidden causes and has a broader lens to understand business problems with unique insight. The deep IT is like the “digital brain” of the organization, new technology tools, and models allow a company to capture business information on a continual basis, develop a high-performing information management team to identify unknown opportunities to either increase revenues or delight customers. Business insights left unexploited by technology create vulnerabilities that can be attacked by opportunistic competitors or new entrants. By understanding this, the important intersection between technological know-how and business insight is encouraged, not blocked. An insightful IT organization plays a crucial role in driving business awareness, gaining contextual intelligence, sensing opportunities, predicting risks, and maximizing the digital potential of the business.

Forward-thinking organizations see that technology is catalyzing their business regardless of the industry segment they play in. Faster, fitter and deeper! When IT moves beyond commodity management and begins to show a higher level of strategic value and dedicate more resources to innovation, IT is on the right track to improve its performance and maturity.

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