Thursday, June 28, 2018

A “Digital-holic” CIO

Digital-holic CIOs think of digital day and night, advocate digitalization as the top priority for their organization.

Digital disruptions are inevitable, and digital transformation is unstoppable. Due to change nature of technologies and exponential growth of information, IT leadership role also has to be continually refined, refreshed and reenergized. Should contemporary CIOs become the “digital-holic” to reimagine the art of possible, leverage IT to advocate "digital first strategy," shape a full-fledged digital business by linking all digital aspects together to enforce value creation and drive digital transformation seamlessly?


Vision: “Digital-holic” CIOs envision the great opportunities that emerging digital technologies could bring to the company, also predict the potential risks the business might expose to. Vision is to serve as a leadership enabler, to clear the path - whether that is for the elimination of obstacles or providing coaching and guidance. “Digital-holic” CIOs set “digital first” priority, drive the corporate vision and strategy through effectiveness and innovation in the knowledge and information channels. They identify and guide the top class leadership team to assure that there are no surprises for continuous and constructive digital disruption. They look forward and actively position the business in the right place to take full advantage of opportunities and risks. They also bring the ecosystem viewpoint, seek and embrace influences beyond their own company, treat customers, channel partners, suppliers, and industry ecosystem participants as active agents who have permission to share knowledge. Digital IT is the linchpin to integrate people, processes, and technology to dynamic and modular capabilities exposed in a platform to create new experiences and expand its impact.

Passion: “Digital-holic” CIOs have passion, passion enables determination, creativity, and talent. Either at individual or business level, passion aligned with focus, capabilities, and meaningful work to build a happy digital workforce is one of the crucial goals of digitalization. Passionate CIOs with a good positive chain of thoughts followed by positive actions often bring good results and leapfrog progress. Though CIOs are the cool-headed top business executive role, their passion should never take precedence over making the sound judgment. Following passion, in fact, requires a good sense of judgment that you are on the right path to the digital vision you set. Passionate CIOs dare to practice out-of-the-box-thinking, introduce new business concepts, develop cross-functional systems, platforms, and procedures for efficient use of natural resource and investing human capital to maximize collective potential. Passion is contagious, with passional IT leadership, the members of IT teams are inspired for what they are doing. This requires a clearly defined and inspiring purpose and extending that purpose into the “real world” as well. Passion keeps you staying longer in the game and overcome roadblocks to get digital ready.

Clarity: Besides vision and passion, digital-holic CIOs spend a lot of time on logical reasoning, staying cool-minded, contemplating and clarify the strategy by self-checking: Are we shaping the good implementable strategy about the future and positioning appropriately for our place within it? Are we doing the right things? Are we doing them in the right way? Are assumptions and risks understood and manageable? Have we put the right people with the right talent in the right position to solve right problems? Do we have enough resource to implement the digital strategy? Digital-holic CIOs think those issues thoroughly, risk concerns could keep them up. Clarity is important because digital gaps are often caused by lacking in-depth understanding; many times, problems have arisen because words have been taken out of context, twisted and used the way people want. Because each one chooses the meaning following their thought processes. It is only when you can go beyond the word, dive into contextual understanding, you are able to see things as distinctly as possible, also see the interconnectivity between parts and the whole, otherwise, there would always be mingling and mixing in the dynamic digital world.

Stretching up: A systematic digital management approach stretch up, but not stress out, it is underpinned by key elements of business such as processes, technologies, people, etc., for achieving the long-term business prosperity. For those lagging organizations, the ecosystems have evolved without much attention or planning. But digital-holic CIOs understand where and how you can and should improve o get the biggest effect and scale up across the digital ecosystem effortlessly, and who are their digital champioins. At the high maturity level, organizations have to stretch out in every business dimension for driving the full-fledged digital transformation. The hyper-connecting nature of digital offers particularly fertile ground for developing cross-industry ecosystems and business growth opportunities, in part because the ways of doing business and meeting customer expectations both tend to be more flexible than the siloed industrial age. Digital management is dynamic, there are always alternative ways to deliver products or services, delight customers and solve problems. This is the image we need for digital businesses today, just solid enough to give some sort of form/meaning and open enough to its environment to allow business movement of people, ideas, and information in and out seamlessly.

Acceleration: Different businesses, different parts of organizations, as well as different individuals, evolve digital at the different speed. The less friction for the changes and the more seamless business interactions enable the business to flow and accelerate its performance and growth. Running a real-time digital organization means high-responsiveness and high speed. Digital-holic CIOs intend to bring real-time insight to run a high-responsive organization, that requires the business having strategic responsiveness to process business information almost real-time, communicate and collaborate with business counterparts timely. It also needs to have the flexibility to take the different approach with the adaptability to meet the business’s expectation, leverage tailored approaches to fit specific circumstances, ultimately respond to the external environment.

The digital ecosystem is dynamic, hyperconnected and expansive, and the digital business territories blur. It expands when the components broaden their community scopes and consume all sorts of resources. Digital-holic CIOs think of digital day and night, advocate digitalization as the top priority for their organization, bridge the gaps, build the culture of innovation, engage employees and delight customers to manage the digital paradigm shift smoothly.

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