Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Running Faster IT

Running faster IT is the prerequisite for running a highly adaptive and high mature digital business.

In the industrial age, IT had a reputation as a controller and IT was not fast enough to respond to changes promptly. Ironically, often technology is the disruptive force behind the business transformation and information is one of the most invaluable assets businesses need to invest in. Today’s digital dynamic enables companies to leverage their various environments or ecosystems, to chase growth opportunities and accelerate business performance. How successful organizations can catch up with the fast pace of changes and handle digital disruptions often depends on how fast and capable they can leverage information to make effective decisions and adapt to the ever-changing environment smoothly. Thus, running faster IT becomes a prerequisite of operating a highly adaptive and high-performance business.

IT must speed up because speed matters for the organization to adapt to the business dynamic and grasp the opportunities for marketing expansion: It is crucial to keep information and knowledge flow in the digital ecosystem and accelerate IT performance consistently. IT needs to focus on the fastest speed available because that is where the main threat is to competitiveness in the marketing place. Running IT with the right speed means that IT has to not only improve its own speed but also the overall business speed as IT is the linchpin to run a hyperconnected digital organization. In practice, even in the simplest organizations, the 'speed' is not homogeneous across the enterprise, there are differences between front office and back office, enterprises with multiples businesses and associated business models. Generally speaking, lightweight digital technologies do make IT nimble, ambidextrous, fast-responding, and adapt to changes. Forward-thinking IT organizations separate the exploitation of the existing methods and legacy technologies from the exploration of the new way to do things by leveraging lightweight digital technologies and emerging trends to accelerate its speed. IT management also has to weight risks and reward, take prudent risks and discover better ways to grasp business growth opportunities and lead changes proactively.

Organizations rely more on technologies; the IT department has more to overcome in running at digital speed: IT is always in the changing environment, with increasing paces, creating unexpected situations and requiring quick and appropriate responses based on the business conditions. The type of speed issues (such as IT slow to change) comes from gaps created between IT and the rest of the company. The traditional IT organization is often perceived as the change laggard and controller, only responding to the business’s requests in a reactive way and operated in a surviving mode. This is perhaps ok in the considerably static industrial age. But now we are moving in the fast-growing digital economy, new technologies arise and information grows so fast that it is hard to catch up without the premium speed. With digital convenience brought by IT consumerization and an abundance of information and knowledge, people tend to have high expectation of digital flow, very little patience with technology issues. Not mention that the emerging trends and unprecedented risks sometimes can disrupt the business even overnight, IT must speed up to delivering qualified business solutions timely and proactively.

IT consumerization is the catalyst to fuel today’s fast business speed, boost employees’ productivity, reduce cost and delight customers: The digital organizations are more dynamic, if you look at a business as a collection of subsystems, the degree of business responsiveness depends on how those subsystems interact with each other, and those interactions can be structural, technical, informational, or human. From old experience in IT management, good and faster doesn’t always go together; you have to make some tradeoff, but with lightweight and more powerful digital technologies. IT has better opportunities to speed up and achieve the state of equilibrium through process and structure optimization. For enterprise application development, it is best to clarify business goals, engage all people involved working together as a team to excel, shorten IT management cycle, make sure you have the best solution that meets the organization's needs, budgeting time and finances accordingly to avoid costly headaches and ensure on-value and on-time delivery. IT leaders also need to encourage their teams to spend more time with leaders on the business side as well as directly with customers. These engagements are leading IT to be much more proactive in proposing, as opposed to just responding to ideas for new ways to improve services or actually create new customer value or business revenue with continuous deliveries timely.

Running faster IT is the prerequisite for running a highly adaptive and high mature digital business. A high-responsive IT organization should lead the way to lift one foot and shift the organizational structure more into participative models that better support the quantum leap in speed we are experiencing and leapfrog digital transformation effortlessly.


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