Sunday, May 24, 2015

What are Tactics and Methodologies in Developing IT and Business Relationship?

IT leaders need to have mind shifted from IT as a cost center to value creator first.

Statistically, only less than 5% of IT can communicate with business partners seamlessly and build IT reputation as a game changer; while more than half of IT organizations still get stuck on the bottom level of maturity, functioning as an isolated support center or service provider due to ineffective communication. Both the senior leadership team and CIOs are clear in what needs to achieve in terms of the top line, bottom line and working in tandem with other departments to achieve the IT goal. So what are the tactics and methodologies in developing IT and business partner relationship via effective communication?

Focusing on the concept of value generation: IT oversees business processes, and it also plays a pivotal role in digitalizing key business processes. In the process, the need to align all the departments is not lost sight of, but the next big thing is how to sustain and grow as well as keep the momentum going. The challenge should be met comfortably by identifying areas that need improvement, looking for new avenues of revenue, better practice, etc. The team having tasted success does not want to rest on its laurels. They aimed big. IT leaders need to have mind shifted from IT as a cost center to value creator first. They have to develop a good understanding of the business, the marketing mix, and its financials, and how the past and current decisions have impacted the business. So when leadership team sits to discuss business strategy in business term, you are not lagging behind and you can make the good contribution to the matter at hand, also provides vision on how IT can catalyze business growth.

Building a reputation and gaining trust: Do a thorough analysis of IT activities, programs, and policies in terms of cost optimization, innovation and their contribution in maximizing shareholders benefit, particularly developing IT programs which have a direct link with increasing revenue growth. At least the mind change from a cost center to value creator is the very first step. Build a reputation as a strategic business partner and gaining trust from the business by being able to understand the business vision and talk in business terms. Focus on the concept of value generation and learn the latest digital trends. IT has to ride ahead of the learning curve in digitizing business.

Harmonizing business relationship and enforcing cross-functional collaboration: All senior leaders must know the business and work collaboratively to drive business results. IT leaders shall consider themselves a business professional with in-depth T-shaped knowledge in the IT area. Whatever business you are in - take the time to really learn that business - or you will always just be the IT guy or gal - and never be part of the senior leadership team making strategic level decisions. IT has a very strong impact on the flow of the operation because the information is the lifeblood of business nowadays, it is not being singled out, it is being concurrent with senior management. Besides people, information is the most invaluable asset which can drive the progress of a business, and all forward-thinking organizations across sectors claim they are in the information management business of the digital age.

Asking questions and listening: IT should continue to brainstorm with business leaders about strategic concerns. What concerns you about the business today? What concerns you about the business in the future? Then, seek to identify and offer solutions. it's important to really listen to top leaders during discussions about strategy development. Many times they could be looking for solutions they don't know you can provide. Ask questions and listen. Questions on
(1) The priorities of senior executives of the company.
(2) Key business processes and systems that are well developed and not well developed.
(3) How their group works with other groups, any frictions existing.
(4) Their view of the company strategies and the strategies in their group.
(5) Organizational capabilities that exist and the need to be developed, both for necessity and competitive advantage.
(6) How they believe decisions are made and how they make them - how can IT help to provide the right information to the right people to make the right decision at the right time.
(7) How they measure success and then pull together the thoughts on the gaps, priorities, disconnects, and needs that exist across the organizations.

Developing the culture of innovation: IT leaders are culture evangelist: Not only can IT innovate the “hard” elements such as business processes of organization, but also it has to play an important role in revitalizing the “soft” elements such as corporate culture, because it can well integrate social platform with other core business processes to harness cross-functional communication and collaboration by following agile principles. It will translate the impact of culture on the bottom line, such as productivity, engagement, customer, and employee satisfaction, and the list goes on; at top line, it is also elevating the role of culture within the strategy and making it a strategic pillar.

IT will be welcomed to the executive table if executives hear the language they understand - the language which is the most beneficial to the company's future - financial results, not just for the short-term result, but for the long-term prospect. By doing this, IT can change from being perceived as a cost-based transaction department, and more of a strategic partner to the business. CIOs have to be the leader to co-create the strategic planning with the goal of clarifying the direction for the whole company to follow. Aligning people, process, and technology with the company’s strategic plan propels your company far in front of your competition.


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