Digital IT

Healthy debating enforces critical thinking principles - looking at things from the different angles, with increased perspective and less prejudgement.


Nowadays information is the lifeblood, and the emergent technology is more often the business disruptor. Due to the changing nature of information and technology, IT is always in the changing environment creating unexpected situations and requiring quick and appropriate responses based on the conditions. IT is at the crossroad due to the exponential growth of information and disruptive nature of digital technologies. It is the time to reimagine IT via inspiring critical and creative thinking and spurring healthy debating. The healthy debates, in fact, help the business and IT do more reflection via pondering deeper and understanding things from multidimensional angles. Because debating is a type of critical thinking activity. Critical thinking is a basic form of organized thought specifically used to frame the right questions, identify the real problems, and discover better ways to do things.


From IT management and innovation perspective, there’re quite a few classic IT debates last decades-long and emergent digital debates rise on the horizon: Does IT still matter? What will happen to the CIO role? What is the nature of the digital IT leadership and what is the primary role of the CIO in harnessing the IT leadership? What is IT role in your company? What is the real business value of IT? Is IT a cost center or value creator? Business vs IT: Where do you stand for? Is IT/business siloing a chronic problem in many organizations? When should IT lead, when should IT follow? How will IT have to change?  Are you there to just keep the lights on, or is IT expected to actively take part in strategic and tactical decisions? In essence, are you focused on projects or infrastructure? What kind of people should be working in your IT group? Do you want techies, business gurus, project-oriented people? What rough percentage of each? How is IT performance as an organization evaluated by the rest of the company? How will you measure success., etc.


Digital IT intro.pngThe purpose of “Digital IT-100 Q&As “ is to summarize 100+ classic and emergent digital debates about digital IT leadership and management, brainstorm how to run a holistic digital business from multidimensional lens, share digital holism and strategic insight, keep IT digital fit, deal with both IT management dilemmas and innovation paradoxes effortlessly, guide today’s digital leaders and professionals to learn the valuable lessons across industrial and geographical boundaries, develop the best and next digital practices to tailor their needs, set the right priorities to achieve high performance, and build a solid digital brand, with the goal to accelerate digital transformation.

Chapter 1 Digital IT Leadership Q&A: Due to the abundance of information and omnipresence of technologies, IT plays a pivotal role in the business’s digital transformation journey. Therefore, digital CIOs have to wear multiple hats and play different roles in the information-abundant organizations today. Nowadays, the CIO is not just leveraging IT to keep the lights on, but managing information to ensure the right people getting the right information at the right time to make the right decisions; and it takes the visionary leadership for orchestrating digital transformation journey smoothly.


Chapter 2 Digital IT Fitness Q&As: The term 'fit' can be interpreted with a degree of variability: Where you want to look for 'fit' is in relation to the growth mindset and values you want to build or maintain within your team, and the kinds of behaviors that you would expect to see as a result of, or in alignment with those values. 'Fit' doesn't mean that everyone needs to have the same thought processes, the same personalities, the same preferences, or the same experiences. What is important is that everyone feels committed to the goals of the team, and are comfortable to bring fresh perspectives with the behavioral expectations associated with those goals.


Chapter 3 Digital IT Innovation Paradox Q&As: Innovation is the light every forward-looking organization is pursuing. However, for most businesses, innovation is still serendipitous, not so many people like innovation, because innovation stands for risk, and that associated with trouble. Innovation management has an overall very low success rate. It is crucial to examine the causes of failure in innovation, the gaps, and pitfalls on the way, to spur healthy debates about innovation paradox. The objective is to raise awareness of what’s needed to improve the probability of innovation success and make the innovation journey more delightful.


Chapter 4 Digital IT Management Dilemmas: Technology is pervasive, business initiatives, changes, and transformation today nearly always involve some form of technology implementation or information analysis; IT touches both hard business processes and soft human behaviors. However, managing a highly effective IT is not an easy job, IT leaders have to overcome many change management roadblocks and deal with quite a few of IT management dilemmas in transforming from a cost center to value creator, from a support desk to a strategic business partner; and from a back office function to an innovation brain yard.


Chapter 5 Digital IT Potential Q&As: Traditional IT organizations are perceived as the cost center, running in an inside-out operation driven mode. Nowadays, with the exponential growth of information and lightweight digital technologies, forward-looking organizations across industrial sectors claim they are in the information management business, and there is a high expectation of IT to drive changes and lead the digital transformation. Therefore, the invisible divide IT vs. business needs to go away, and CIOs should market themselves and advocate IT as an integrated component -the business backbone or the digital brain of the company, in order to unleash the full potential of digital IT, and run IT as an innovation engine and revenue generator for the business.


Chapter 6 Digital IT Priority Q&As: Modern businesses can often get trapped into "busyness," overwhelmed with too many projects or change initiatives, and overloaded with the operation and short-term business concerns. Prioritization starts with a right mindset -first of all, corporate leaders have to craft an executable strategy, a good strategy can map business goals with employee goals systematically, laser focus on the most critical challenge the business needs to overcome, and also engage employees by co-setting their work goals which are stretch out, but not too stressful. A high performing business can manage both their talent and resource effectively via prioritization and optimization.


Chapter 7 IT-Business Gap Q&As: The very characteristic of the digital era is hyperconnectivity. On one hand, digital technology trends such as IT consumerization shrink the IT-business gap; however, the collective mindsets, cultures, and accelerated change gaps between business and technology are not shrinking, because each part of the business evolves digital transformation with the different speed. In fact, bridging the gap between IT and the business is the issue of all about change. It is important to integrate the steps, processes, tools and products that organizations use to effect the transformation from strategy to deployment.


Chapter 8 Digital IT Performance Q&As: IT metrics need to evolve to something that matters to the business audience, at the same time that "business sentiment" needs to get put into something more tangible. Selecting the right key performance indicator is one of the most important steps in measurement because this process includes to answering why you are choosing that, how you will use them and whether you have enough resources to manage data. Always attempt to identify areas in which measurable improvements can be realized, providing demonstrable value is essential, in some instances, these areas have been low-hanging fruit. Your measures should cover all areas that contribute to value creation including service quality, employee engagement, customer satisfaction, innovation benefit, and financial outcomes.


Chapter 9 Digital IT Branding Q&As: A high-performing, high-reliable and high-proactive IT is the key success factor for the digital transformation of the business. IT branding needs to be part of IT transformation effort. With the rate of change is accelerated, it’s very important for the IT organizations to continually do “self-reflection’ upon the business effectiveness, process efficiency, strength and risks, culture, and brand etc. IT is a critical component of the business, commonly IT self-evaluation ability is a reflection on overall business culture within the whole organization. Take a critical look at IT, you need to be honest with yourself about assessing the strengths and weaknesses of IT organization, in order to build a solid IT brand.


Chapter 10: Digital IT Talent Management Q&As: Due to the evolutionary nature of technology and accelerating speed of business changes, one of the most pervasive and persistent concerns or complaints from IT leaders is the skills gap, such as, their people do not have the right competencies; they can’t find the right skills to fill the positions or their non-IT partners do not understand IT, etc. People are always the most invaluable asset to the organization but often turn to be the weakest link in strategy execution. Unlike the other tangible value of business assets which are more easily measured in a quantitative way, the true value of people, especially today’s high professional knowledge workforces include many tangible and intangible factors. Because people are not just the cost or the resource to be managed, but the capital to be invested in and their potential if unleashed can bring the quantum leap in the business growth.

Many think we are still living in the era in which the businesses and societies are information-rich and insight poor. The real critical thinking and healthy debate and argument are missing from businesses and society as a whole. In reality, we all bring our own biases and judgments to arguments. Having a debate where people are forced to uphold a view or belief that isn't necessarily their own, enforces critical thinking principles - looking at another belief from a little less emotional perspective, with increased perspective and less prejudgement. Critical thinking is asking questions and debating answers from all perspectives. The more salient points of the "ongoing debates," are to brainstorm the better way to do things and run a high mature digital IT organization. Whether it is a debate, argument, interview, investigation or chess game, critical thinking will apply. The debate, when used properly, can be a way to explore critical thinking from a non-biased perspective, re-examine the root causes of IT ineffectiveness, reimagine the digital potential of IT, and reinvent IT as a digital business engine. Critical Thinking plus healthy debating streamline IT leadership journey from good to great, from “command and control” to innovativeness. The digital leaders today would keep everyone involved and foster an environment of creative thinking and critical thinking, spur healthy debates for innovation, and make a leap of digital transformation.

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Introduction

Chapter 1 Digital IT Leadership Q&A

Chapter 2 Digital IT Fitness Q&A

Chapter 3 Digital IT Innovation Paradox Q&As

Chapter 4 Digital IT Management Dilemmas

Chapter 5 Digital IT Potential Q&As

Chapter 6 Digital IT Priority Q&As

Chapter 7 IT-Business Gap Q&As

Chapter 8 Digital IT Performance Q&As

Chapter 9 IT Branding Q&As


Chapter 10: Digital IT Talent Management Q&As

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