Monday, November 10, 2014

How to Transform IT from an Order Taker to Order Shaker

Mindset, knowledge, wisdom, strategy, and customer-centricity are all crucial factors in IT transformation.

Most of IT organizations still get stuck at the lower level of digital maturity. They are the order takers to fix the problems and keep the light on, not the business partners to drive changes and catalyze business growth. What are some of the important considerations as IT moves from an Order Takers to an Order Shaker?
Understand the business first and foremost: Without a C-level knowledge of the business goals and objectives, you cannot position your IT resources correctly. IT resources must be aggressively proactive in making sure they are not just being seen as order takers. If the business supports everyone providing ideas ... ensure you are. One of the real problems too often is that an IT resource feels that they have to say yes. What the business really needs is an IT group that can say no ... but offer alternative solutions that meet the goals. State the risks, explain the reasons you are saying no and back your concerns with facts.
 Inspire the color of thought, diversity of skills: Ensure that from the C-level down everyone is living the meaning and purpose of being diversity and inclusion. Everyone can contribute and question, to ensure that the C-level leadership is engaged and leading all resources in the company including those in the IT role and unleash both talent potential and business potential.
Lead business’s digital transformation: New Business-IT Operating Models incorporate cloud solutions and foster business-IT convergence. IT Operating Models have been at best "loosely" defined, and rarely engineered purposefully for a given set of business outcomes. It's time to leverage social media and digitalization in driving up business value realization from IT investments. It takes vision and imagination. Without imaginations, one cannot see the future. And if you are not able to see the future you cannot see emerging technologies or the consequences of your strategic decision making.

Shape design thinking fueled with imagination: For decades, IT has been talking about "exceptional designers" and act as though they have fallen out of the sky or were born with a gift. But, there is no magic to it. They just need strong technical skill, good communication skills, and a well-developed imagination. Yes, IT systems are designed. But, rarely are they designed with much imagination or elegance. And they need to focus more on the future and less on the present. Both of these require some imagination and a disciplined imagination at that. One needs an understanding of the problem (knowledge of business), an understanding of the means to solve it (knowledge of IT), and a disciplined imagination (bringing the potential solutions to bear on the problem in a novel, elegant and improved way). What is lacking today, and the element you are looking for is imagination. We cannot envision a future different from the present without a developed and disciplined imagination.
Focus on Problem SolvingOnce the business problem has been defined, the multi-discipline diversified group, mutually respectful and sufficiently open-minded will be able to resolve it. The executive leadership must be motivated and managed by a single customer-centric objective and the success should be defined by accomplishing a business goal, not just a theoretical solution. IT has to proactively work with the business, ensure that the C level (and other non-IT executives) leadership is appropriately engaged, have the right resources, are paying close attention to customers and partners, and successful in relationship building.
Last, but not least, pay close attention to your customers (both internal and end customer); your partners, your fellow employees: Be an ambassador of the new approach. Reach out. Ask how you are doing. Your efforts should be seen as helping the company achieve its goals, programming successfully (whether you are solving the problem with technology or governance, policy, procedure or even the removal of any of those things). Know who you are talking to and use the appropriate verbiage in common business language, without talking down to anyone; to engage them in a real way.

In order to lead digital transformation, IT has to transform itself, from a cost center to value creator; from the back office to innovation engine; and from an order taker to an idea shaker, in order to improve IT and overall business maturity


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