Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Digital IT: How Should CIOs Prepare for Digital Disruption

A Digital IT is a Forerunner of Digital Business.

Majority of IT organizations today are still running at the industrial speed, stick at the low or mid-level of maturity, although technology is more often than not, the disruptive force for business and industry innovation, IT organizations seem to have a tendency to align with the slow changing parts of the organization, so how shall CIOs prepare for the digital disruption and speed up accordingly?  

IT needs to become a value creator, rather than a cost center. IT is spending too much time solving immediate problems, but not doing it in a way that prevents them from reoccurring. The majority of IT have little capacity for change – as people are too busy being firefighters. And firefighting results in a particularly stubborn problem – people define themselves as problem solvers and they create allies. Those who solve the problems get immediate results and gratification. And those they help will resist any attempt to stop them. So, asking them to do something different runs into more barriers. However, in order to run IT with digital speed, IT needs to be in a proactive mode to not only solve the immediate problems for the bottom line but also handle more critical business issues which can directly impact business top line growth. IT talent should be not only tactical but also strategic. 

Set up a prioritization process: If CIOs are going to prepare for Digital Disruption, create some capacity to make changes. Set up a prioritization process to remove off bad projects quickly and channel good ones onto platforms that are easier to maintain. Educate business leaders on the potential of technology but also the liabilities. They are then in a position to make informed decisions in the above prioritization process. Provide some oversight for projects and services vendors to prevent scope creep and keep things on schedule.

Being an innovation champion of examples and lessons learned from other industries: To digitize and speed up IT, the CIO should look to businesses outside their industry to spur the out-of-box thinking and dot-connecting innovation; to find examples and opportunities for how these other firms addressed similar challenges and implemented different types of products and services to delight customer or reach new markets.  Too often, business leaders focus only on those companies they see as their direct competitor, indeed, digitalization disrupts not only the business boundary but also industry boundary, today’s organization is more as an organic living thing thriving at the expanded business ecosystem.

IT has to become a true business partner in the company: Remember that IT no longer has the only perspective on the use of technology in the business due to the IT consumerization trend and on-demand technology services. Therefore, CIOs need to
1). Encourage internal pilots of disruptive technology, but build the proper governance framework and disciplines.
2). Stay in touch with technological developments across the industry through forums and professional networking. Create a context to share expertise and make an influence.
4). Be prepared to adopt technology championed by other business departments; also, brighten the ‘shadow IT’ through best or next practices.

CIOs should also seek out and partner with those leaders in the innovative companies who most agitate for speed and change: There are different aspects of a business change at different rates - they experience the pressures for change differently. By seeking out and developing a partnership value proposition for those leaders who most agitate for speed and change, the CIO will start to transform his/her organization and the perception of IT.

The mentality shifts from 'risk-avoidance' to 'risk management' and risk intelligence: In the IT organizations with an industrial speed, CIOs have tried to reduce technology and IT risk as much as possible, a risk avoidance mentality, it may also lose some opportunity to grow the business. When they shift from a 'risk-avoidance' to a 'risk management' & risk intelligence mentality, they weight risk, and reward, take prudent risks and find ways to mitigate risk rather than eliminate it, and embrace business growth opportunities proactively.

A digital IT is up to the speed, analytical and innovative, strategic and multi-dimensional, it’s a change agent and customer champion.


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