Monday, July 2, 2018

How to Run High-Performance IT Organizations Exceeding Business Expectation?

Due to fierce competitions and rapid changes, making a continuous improvement is critical for surviving and thriving of digital businesses today. 

Though information and technology play a significant role in running the modern business today. However, most IT organizations still get stuck at the lower level of maturity to “keep the lights on” only. At the highest level, IT needs to become the trustful business partner and digital game changer for the business. IT matters not only because it’s pervasive, more about it continues to advance, and its nature of the "constructive disruption." From IT management perspective, how can companies fine-tune business success factors such as people, process, and technology to unclog both performance and potential bottleneck, to run the high-performance IT organizations exceeding business expectation, and accelerate digital transformation?

Set and manage the business and stakeholders’ expectation: Today’s organizations are at a crossroad where the silos of business units are at a critical point to reach across the aisles and respectively work with each other. This is particularly important for reinventing IT from an isolated back-office function to the strategic business partner. IT management should collect business customers’ feedback, the CIO needs to be able to listen to a wide range of opinions and approaches and understand how IT investment and initiatives benefit the business's strategic goals and the long-term business competency. The CIO needs to act as “Chief Investment Officer,” running IT as the business, to set and manage the stakeholders’ expectation and justify the business case through finance term. The top executive teams who sponsor IT-driven business initiatives as well as tactical managers who take charge of IT implementation are the keys on the business requirement readiness checklist. They should be skilled at defining the business requirements in a business language describing the business goals, customer needs and personas, competitor offers, business SWOT analysis, the identified business goals, and objectives. A formal business requirement initiatives checklist includes such as enterprise mission and stakeholder needs analysis, enterprise system requirement development and management. There’s the difference between business requirements and IT requirements, IT has to oversee the full set of the business requirements to ensure the cohesiveness and to determine all the customers, users, and stakeholders and obtain their involvement.

Make improvement in IT business fundamental: Business fundamentals are people, process, and technology. Effective IT management means understanding every part of the operation and every workflow process, to keep tunning business capabilities and capacities through consolidation, modernization, integration, optimization, and innovation. The challenge for IT leaders to run high performance IT is to set the right priority, leverage the limited budget and resources, to achieve the desired return on investment. But without the collaboration and support from the business, the work will become much harder. So, it’s important to get as many people pulling in the same direction as possible. An effective CIO’s job is to improve operations and reduce the burden on the company while trying to stay current with ever-changing technologies and overwhelming growth of information. The goal is to making improvement in business fundamentals and achieving high-performance business results.


Select metrics and fine-tune performance management: To run IT exceeding the business expectation, IT management should be able to both qualitatively and quantitatively measure business value delivery and achieve tangible business results. It’s important to select the right set of IT performance indicators of business improvement, innovation, and investment, If as the CIO, IT metrics only focus on cost, and then, don’t be surprised if you are managed on cost. Also, if your metrics are all pointed backward in the technology, and then don’t be surprised that the business can’t really understand the business value of IT. Thus, a digital CIO needs to be “commercial” for running IT as the business. Assuming an organization believes that metrics can lead to continuous improvement. It won’t be just a matter of explicit communicating the intention behind metrics, but a matter of coaching and guiding the team to understand the purpose of doing that and engaging on that. The healthy IT performance management cycle is to ensure that the business goals and objectives are measured by well-selected metrics, the results are taken and analyzed, to the right people who can explain the variance and make effective decisions. The correct actions can be assigned and the improvement in the business can be achieved continually.

Due to fierce competitions and rapid changes, making a continuous improvement is critical for surviving and thriving of digital businesses today. IT needs to be underpromising and over-delivery. The difficult part to be a great leader is to make the balance between short term and long term business perspective, manage visible and invisible sides of IT complexity. Keep steady for sustaining the business's bottom line, but also move fast with the accelerating speed to drive the organization’s digital transformation systematically.

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