Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Digital IT as the “Rule Maker”

Digital IT needs to become the “rule-maker,” for driving changes proactively and making influence at the strategic level.

With the fast-paced change, overwhelming growth of information and frequent digital disruptions, often driven by technologies, IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. All too often, IT acts as an order taker, many businesses still perceive IT exclusively as a cost center. To make a smooth digital transformation, IT needs to move from providing largely back-office support to becoming the strategic business partner and the digital "rule-comaker" for guiding digital transformation and driving changes proactively.

Co-set digital principles and policies: A business rule is simply a rule that is under business jurisdiction. Enterprise policies provide a basis for decision-making throughout an enterprise and inform how the organization sets about fulfilling its mission. The digital rules are not some out-of-date cliche or overly rigid procedures to stifle changes. Instead, they are based on the set of digital principles and philosophy behind the methodologies and practices; they help to shape the mindsets behind behaviors and actions. The tactical IT managers usually take orders from businesses and spend most of their time and resources on “keeping the lights on.” Outdated organizational rules, structures, processes, information, knowledge, or technology are the barriers to speed up innovation. To improve IT maturity and leadership influence, IT leaders need to have a seat at the big table to co-set digital policies and rules for information management, technology update, as well as driving transformative changes. Breaking down some outdated rules and establishing the digital principles are critical to run highly innovative digital organization, because either individually or collectively. If you are creative, you will disrupt the status quo as you break through conventional wisdom and push toward the path few people take. It’s a set of digital principles and beliefs which guide decision-making, practices, and actions to run today’s fast, always-on, and ultra-competitive organization across-sectors and geographic boundaries.

Co-shape the organizational vision and strategy: The role of the CIO is to drive the corporate vision and strategy through effectiveness and innovation in the knowledge and information channels. The CIO role is a visionary who is curious to discover and able to predict and ride above the technology trends, but also a business strategist who can co-create business strategy because more often technology is the innovation engine and business disruptor in the digital age. They need to have digital awareness and share their technological vision with the board and other executive peers to build the trustful relationship and reinvent IT reputation as the strategic partner of the business. CIOs need to be seen as the business, not technology leaders. IT needs to be acutely in tune with the business. To play the “rule-maker” role effectively, CIOs should first understand their business and industry by reaching out horizontally to their business peers, and then, evaluate technologies based on the value or competitive advantage it brings to the business. The key is engagement with the business and making cross-functional collaboration seamlessly. CIOs need to rise above the status quo and take on a new set of activities that have them involved in setting digital guidelines and developing the best and next digital practices.



Co-write the digital transformation playbook: The digital transformation implies the full-scale changes in the way the business is conducted, so simply adopting a new digital technology may be insufficient. Transformational change by definition involves both opportunities and risks. There's a fundamental shift happening with the emergence of converging technologies that impact the business through cross-departmental collaboration. Therefore, organizations need to have their own transformation playbook to guide changes and transform the company’s underlying functions, processes, structures, cultures, and organization as a whole with adjusted digital speed. CIOs have one of the most influential positions within the business for gaining the organizational oversight. Thus, they should also play a significant role in co-writing the digital transformation playbook. The digital IT playbook isn't for the faint of heart. IT plays a crucial role in breaking down silos and being intentional about developing processes that encourage collaboration and enforcing flexibility. A transformation might need work cross boxes instead within the box. Nowadays, IT needs to work both in the business and on the business, to proactively work as an integral part of the business and to capitalize on opportunity via leading the transformation seamlessly.

Today, IT is a competitive advantage for many successful businesses, the failure of IT will make the company suffer, even cause fatal business failures. Digital IT needs to become the “rule-maker,” for driving changes proactively and making influence at the strategic level. CIOs should be clear on what needs to achieve in terms of top line, bottom line, and working in tandem with other departments to achieve high-performance business results.

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