Friday, July 6, 2018

Take the Converging Journey of IT Digitalization, Modernization, and Innovation

Businesses today need nothing less than a paradigm shift in their thinking about the fundamentals of how organizations work to build an authentic culture and an engaging workforce.


The digital business territories blur, and the digital ecosystem is dynamic, hyperconnected and expansive. The increasing pace of changes and continuous disruption throw the challenge for businesses across sectors to respond and adapt with faster speed. We are entering the new era with the convergence of enterprise IT and consumerization of IT, the digital convergence of devices and services are creating new business models and revenue sources. Organizations across the industrial sectors declare they are in the information management business and take the converging journey of digitalization, modernization, and innovation.

Digitalization: Digital means flow, information flow, idea flow, and thus, business flow. Running digital fit IT organization is to manage the information lifecycle of the business effectively, to ensure the right people can get the right/updated information to make the right decisions timely. IT should help the organization harness and understand the information to capture the real-time business insight, provide ways to better recognize and act on that information for gaining competitive advantage. This requires a holistic look at the entire knowledge environment and identifies how the information management initiative aligns with the company or business unit objectives, to improve communication, collaboration, and overall organizational performance. Digital transformation starts with mind shift, business value has to be driven, indicated and understood at all levels of the organization. And fundamentally, running digital IT means that IT leaders and staff are equipped with the digital mindset who can think a few steps further than their business peers. So, IT can truly drive changes and lead digital transformation instead of reacting to changes. Running a high-responsive IT organization needs to have the flexibility to take the different approach with the adaptability to meet the business’s expectation and build the long-term business advantage.

Modernization: The digital dynamic is where the digital disruption threatens to tear down legacy systems and outdated practices just as it generates new opportunities and brings risks and uncertainty as well. It's natural to fear the unknown, question the unproven, be skeptical of the latest technology trends. IT modernization is an important stepstone for reaching the goal of going digital. Many traditional IT departments faced with serious application sprawl and a growing backlog of out-of-date and often unsupported applications. Faced with restrictive budgets and perceived risks of unplanned downtime, the application owners can be reluctant to commit to modernizing or consolidating their applications. In large corporations, business executives fail to see technology costs clearly by each of the business functions. Successful application rationalization, like most things in IT, must be a business led initiative. The strategic corporate benefits of application modernization are effectiveness, efficiency, differentiation, and maturity.

Innovation: Digitizing IT is not equal to IT modernization though, it goes a step further, becomes the innovation hub and the growth engine of running a highly mature digital business. Instead of just fixing the things, digital IT should always embrace the new way, the new process, the new technology to do things innovatively. IT needs to manage a balanced innovation portfolio with both incremental innovation and breakthrough innovation. Recognize that many small innovations will collectively outweigh one or few large innovations. IT needs to be able to provide innovative solutions or supply differentiated solutions that contribute to both top line growth and the bottom line success of the organization. They must alleviate themselves of the mundane, daily tasks that weight them down. Bridging the innovation execution gap requires a systematic execution scenario with clear stages, performance thresholds, decision-making parameters combined with the iterative learning process that supports wide-ranging exploration at each stage. Highly innovative IT teams can work with business counterparts more collaboratively in a value-oriented manner to inspire creativity and advance the business to reach the pinnacle of the business growth cycle. It is important to foster a creative working environment to renew creative energy, you have to live it and breathe it every day. Creativity has to become your business routine and innovation is the unique business competency.

It is challenging to take the converging journey of digitalization, modernization, and innovation. But this is also a golden opportunity for CIOs to lead the way by enabling, governing and optimizing the consumer-driven technology and information management. Businesses today need nothing less than a paradigm shift in their thinking about the fundamentals of how organizations work to build an authentic culture and an engaging workforce, take the logical steps for reaching the next stage of the business growth cycle and digital acceleration.

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