Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Running a Business-Driven Digital IT Organization

Running a business-driven digital IT organization means that IT can demonstrate its performance not from IT lens, but from outside-in business and customer perspective.


At today’s information-driven business dynamic, IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. To reinvent IT for getting digital ready, IT organization has to move from a reactive order taker and a back office support function to a strategic business partner and digital catalyst. It is important to run a business-driven digital IT organization with interdisciplinary management practices for moving the company to a dynamic, iterative, integral, and interactive digital flow and business continuum.






Information Management fluency: It is the radical shift from running “T” - technology-driven IT to “I” - information focused IT and business-driven IT organization, which has the ultimate goal to become a strategic business partner. Because the intrinsic value of information management is to tun information and knowledge assets of the business into corporately owned assets and improve business decision effectiveness and overall business competency. The epistemic value of information/knowledge management is to develop the highly professional knowledge workforce and cultivate the culture of learning and innovation. Information Management is the critical business process of aligning the application of information through cohesive management practices. Information is dynamic and knowledge needs to be updated all the time. Information flows into the company, gets stored, processed, refined, and hopefully flow to the customers of the company to ensure products/services delivery smoothly. On the flip side, information is also something that can hinder the achievement of strategic objectives, having it unavailable or compromised. If not properly managed, it becomes a worse case an organizational liability and at best case as the underutilized business asset. From Information Management perspective, running a business-driven digital organization means that the business has the rich flow of information, information has the right quality; information is applied properly, and information has been refined into business insight or customer foresight with the aim of solving tough business problems and improving organizational responsiveness and performance intellectually.

IT-Business Engagement: To run a business-driven digital IT organization, forward-looking companies are moving from reluctant business-IT alignment to proactive IT-business engagement stage. Put simply, running IT as the business. IT works as an integral part of the business to capitalize on growth opportunity and lead digitalization. It takes very concerted, dedicated, and structural efforts and a strong desire on both business and IT side to make it happen smoothly. More specifically, it means having IT and business collaborate as equal partners so that strategies, portfolios, structures, and people, etc, work in harmony, such that initiatives, especially those focused on leveraging IT to increase revenues are successful. IT can drive the digital transformation but it should be in conjunction with the business. Thie cross-functional collaboration entails effective communication, governance, value analytics, partnership, information & technology fluency, and people skills. When IT is operated through an outside-in business lens, focus on solving both existing and emerging business problems, it is on the right track to get digital ready and build its reputation as the trustful business partner.


Strategic partnership: Due to the complex nature of technology and overwhelming information, to run a business-driven digital IT organization, IT leaders have to build up the strong partnership both with business managers as well as other service providers within digital ecosystem. So, the business will not just use IT as a digital extension, but leverage IT across their organization to attain the enterprise-wide digital transformation. From the IT relationship management perspective, IT leaders need to check continually: Who will work with you to overcome problems or roadblocks? Who are your supporters and who are your detractors? Who are your partners and who are your competitors, or maybe both at the different situation. Internally, IT management and staff should learn to listen to the internal users and business partner’s pain points and develop a collaborative approach to co-solve common business issues; Externally, IT needs to build a solid partnership with vendors - manage a mixed bag of diversified vendors, multifaceted partnerships, co-ownership of ventures and companies, etc. Overall speaking, IT needs to build a solid partnership with the business and vendors across the digital ecosystem, run in a very entrepreneur fashion to solve business problems effectively. The big leap through the strategic partnership establishment is to do more with innovation, modernize business models, and create significant opportunities for growing business and delighting customers continually.

Running a business-driven digital IT organization means that IT can demonstrate its performance not from IT lens, but from outside-in business and customer perspective. The priority for CIOs is to genuinely position IT as an integral and inseparable part of the business, develop IT that is flexible to accommodate rapidly changing business strategies and requirements, define core IT competency, and refine IT reputation as the invaluable business partner.

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