Saturday, March 1, 2014

An Influential IT: IT as Business Decision Influencer

 IT needs to be the super-glue to bridge business silos and enable holistic decision-making.

Fundamentally, the purpose of the IT organization is to ensure the right information going to the right people at the right time and location in order to make the right decision. Indeed, IT is a key business decision influencer at the information-exponential era, but more specifically, how does IT make an impact on the business decision, and how can IT improve business’s decision-making capabilities?

IT is an influencer of the business decision-making process, where technology is a key contributor to business success: The big problem of making the right decision is to define a problem, with its cause driven by an individual's ability to make sense out of uncertainty. An insightful question is, ‘When and under what circumstances do the logical thoughts of decision-makers' (as a group) become clouded with mistaken judgments (beliefs) and strategic choices. IT spends a very large amount of professional time working on the "business" side of things to work on structured approaches that lead to real decisions and properly resourced projects. Decision-making scenario is depending on problem context. A structured or an unstructured approach to management's decision making is depending on a problem context. An effective way for resource allocation and utilization is an important factor for decision making. Sometimes internal factors which may influence the decision processes include goals of the decision maker, decision situation, decision context, relevant information, and knowledge, as well as organizational capabilities and resources. On the other hand, external factors can influence strategic decision-making to include technology factors, political and legal conditions, and competition and consumer demands.

IT needs to be the superglue to bridge business silos and enable holistic decision-making: The traditional management has difficulty in articulating the rationale for decisions and the acquired habit of procrastination is often deferring decision-making to others. So many factors exacerbate inertia, for instance, not having common business values and having inconsistent and incomplete management frameworks. IT is in a unique position to oversee the business process to bridge the functional silos. It needs to be a complete circle. People need to stop doing things in silos, with a collaborative platform framed by IT, businesses can all be more productive in terms of delivery timelines, meeting management, business, and client expectations. The information & technology group could be very useful in terms of looking at things differently, contributing ideas, offering new methods and capabilities, and so on. IT shall be part of business decision making in order to arrive at an optimal decision for the benefit of the company. Digital businesses today have reached a level of maturity where decisions are made by a team of experts from different domains rather than a business unit independently. Information Technology should be viewed as a stakeholder in the business decision-making process.  Nowadays, rarely there is any industry where IT is not leveraged. Be its presence on the Internet, communication, Social media/networking, etc. IT becomes a business catalyst indeed.

Building consensus requires bringing all parties together at the beginning: When you look at defining an issue, constructing a solution, and then communicating that; don't you seek to involve the people that will do the work or will have to support the solution later? IT has to be involved in the decision-making; the question is “At what stage in the process?”. It may depend on the IT maturity and overall organizational maturity. The higher mature IT is a business partner, rather than a service desk, and IT leaders have the strategic mindset and skill-set to contribute business problem defining and solving. IT should play as an optimistic and cautious innovator with an in-depth understanding of technology potential and limitation, opportunity, and risk, not a good idea killer. The ultimate goals for many projects are not to create a product/solution that a company has a skill set to complete, but to create a product your customer needs and then find the appropriate skill set to accomplish the goal.

More often than not, technology becomes a driver for radical and breakthrough business innovation, and data-based decision making is crucial at the digital age with exponential information.  Therefore, IT also needs to be the key business decision influencer, both providing input for strategy making and capturing output for business improvement and capability optimization, 



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