Monday, June 4, 2018

Three “Break Down” to Reinvent Digital IT Organization

 Running IT as the software startup is simply about taking bold initiatives to reinvent IT by cultivating the new attitude and fusing the fresh energy.

Forward-thinking organizations declare they are in the information management business to improve organizational competency and long-term business growth. IT organization is at the crossroad, either move up the maturity level to make things happen or get stuck as a cost center and gradually become irrelevant. Today’s CIOs as digital leaders must deal with rapid changes, constant ambiguity, increasing complexity and unprecedented uncertainty. To reinvent IT for getting digital ready, CIOs perhaps need to take some courage for breaking something first - break down the old IT thinking box, break down the status quo, and break down “we always do things like that” mentality. IT leaders need to unfold their leadership on the daily basis, to think strategically and implement strategy steadfastly.

Break down old school silos of thought: Old school IT organizations were operated with silo setting as an isolated support function. Silo creates the gap between IT and business that drags down the business speed and causes the majority of IT organizations getting stuck at the lower level of business maturity. Silos are a product of organizational insecurity and internal competition for resources. Silo is also a cultural problem resulting from poor leadership. To break down old school silos of thoughts, cross-functional communication, collaboration, transparency, respect and clear leadership are the keys to breaking down the perceptions and realities of the issues. To reinvent IT as the strategic partner of the business, CIOs need to work closely with other executive peers and IT teams with feedback mechanisms and willingness to find solutions that can support both the business need and build any ROI required to justify the business case. To keep evolved and invested in the greater purpose or vision, every department in the company needs to work together to be successful, business does not own the goals and own the solution; and IT should not hold up the business or even decelerate business speed. Good digital leaders today can both focus on what they do and keep their eye on the bigger picture as well.

Break down the old school of reductionistic management discipline: Traditional CIOs often live in the box, leverage linear logic and take the reductionistic approach (business is the sum of parts) to manage IT. In the evolutionary human society, Newtonian mechanics have fueled industrialization. However, now we are moving in the hyperconnected digital economy, digital businesses today are more like the organic living thing rather than the mechanical system keeps spinning. Therefore, to break down the old reductionistic management discipline, IT leaders should practice Systems Thinking to ensure that IT is the integral component of the company and linchpin of the digitalization. IT can refine the invaluable business information and bring opportunities to the business, helps the top management team understand the possibilities of how new technologies can enhance creation or improvement of product/services/solutions. In the traditional management setting, IT is often the background music, but in the digital era, IT has its own music sheet to play for leading change proactively.

Break down IT system, process, and capability bottleneck: Different companies are at the different stage of the business life cycle; different IT organizations are also at the different level of management maturity. In many traditional IT organizations, legacy IT systems or outdated processes cause the bottleneck for IT responding to changes timely. Startup companies have few technical burdens, but often lack resources or standard to achieve high efficiency. IT needs to build both necessary competency and differentiated competency. To break through IT system bottleneck, IT needs to integrate varying applications and enable workflows between them. The ultimate goal is to maximize the value from existing IT systems and the need for better business performance and responsiveness, prioritize IT workload, and manage the full application life cycle in a continuous mode. A digital IT is a thresholding competency of the business,

We are in the digital paradigm shift, with the mixed bag of old and new. Running IT as the software startup is simply about taking bold initiatives to reinvent IT by cultivating the new attitude and fusing the fresh energy. It takes the collaborative effort across the entire business scope to streamline processes and keep information flow seamlessly and run a fluid digital business seamlessly.

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