Monday, October 12, 2015

Digital IT as an Information Hub and Innovation Engine

In order to run IT an information hub, CIO needs to be a visionary and an effective communicator who have to advocate their organization effectively.

Due to the changing nature of technology and the overwhelming volume of information, IT plays a pivotal role in leading the organization's digital transformation. However, IT running in an industrial mode is a business controller with the reputation of slow to change, back-office function, not fits in the fast-changing business circumstances or volatile digital dynamic. With explosive data and the abundance of information, how to run IT with the growth mentality at digital speed? And how to transform IT from a cost center to an information hub and innovation engine?

Leverage digital tools and social platforms to build a culture of innovation: The first thing to do is to create a culture among all staff for them to be always looking for new and innovative ideas. IT leaders must guide them to articulate how it has the potential to improve efficiency or provide benefits. This greatly improves the odds of discovering something innovative because more people are looking, but also because of varied interest of staff may have to look in other innovations being used in other professions or industries that could cross over. These innovations may otherwise have been missed. The three P's (Passion, Purpose, and Potential) are critical for every employee no matter what the role is. Without the first two, you are just going through the motions and will never be an authentic leader. Passion is a requirement, but the way and how it is used, focused and balanced determines success. Recognize that many small innovations will collectively outweigh one or few large innovations. Lead by example and just try things and see what happens. For example, one of the channels to capturing all the innovative ideas from all your staff is to create an Internal blog, where staff can transparently and openly share their ideas across the whole organization. This provides an open forum to discuss pro and cons without any filtering or biases which typically kills innovative ideas in its infancy.

Craft a solid IT strategy to build IT as an information hub: An Information Management strategy is critical as it describes the future state, and how to get there. It’s about how an enterprise will leverage information to power its business by optimizing the value of information while minimizing risks. Information and its lifecycle are complex. Enterprises generally have governance and compliance rules on the information. They want people to be able to find, reuse, publish, refactor and republish. Information is the lifeblood of the enterprise, but if not properly managed, it becomes at worst case liability and at best case an underutilized asset. The following three constraints are actually all reasons an organization should have an information strategy. The first constraint is being the tyranny of the urgent with organization systems. Most of the systems that are needed today and technology leaders are starved for resources. The lack of resources and focus on businesses expanding their capabilities takes precedence to projects like an enterprise data strategy. The second is being the consumerization of technology, this is something that is happening to systems too. It is a part of the mentality that systems can be purchased or access contracted with the concept that SAAS or cloud systems are instantaneous solutions to an organization’s business challenges. This concept is fragmenting information, creating an even bigger challenge in addressing an enterprise policy. The idea of moving fast, moving to new technologies to be flexible and responsible puts you back to the first reason, time, and resources for increasingly diverse information. The third is that most organizations are in transitions, data is in dissimilar systems which are being migrated, converted or just staying out due to budget and time constraints. The constraint is in getting all of the systems up to current technology to snap into an enterprise information strategy.

In order to run IT as an information hub, CIOs need to be visionaries and effective communicators with the varying audience via tailored conversations; in order to build IT as an innovation engine, CIOs need to be the creative leaders who can make an influence and shape the culture of innovation. CIOs have to advocate their organization, and IT value has to be driven, indicated and understood at all levels of the organization. This is accomplished through establishing strong interdependent relationships, operational excellence, innovative solutions, customer satisfaction, and superior sets of digital capabilities in order to move up the organizational maturity.


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