Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Three Es in Running a Digital IT

The ultimate goal for IT is to achieve the big E -IT EXCELLENCE via enablement, explorement, and effectiveness and Efficiency.

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 should CIOs prepare for the digital disruption and speed up accordingly?  There is the “alphabet soup” in running a digital IT which must lead in reaching high-level performance and maturity; besides triple “I”s - Information, Innovation, and Integration, triple “A”s - Automation, Analysis, and Agility, triple “C”s - Change, Collaboration, and Cloudification, triple “P”s - Principle, Process, and Performance. Here, we introduce the triple “E”s in digital IT:

Enablement: Now we are living in an information explosive world where technology is pervasive and the masses are looking for their own experiences to introduce new technology into the business, corporate IT has to transform from a business controller to an enabler, IT needs to gain better understanding of the business and showing that knowledge by talking business to the business; at the age of IT consumerization, IT at all levels needs to understand how the business makes and loses money, and it needs to articulate solutions around this with business language. On the other side, businesses need to understand not only the power and the opportunity information could bring in, but also, the potential risks they might get exposed to, so they will understand the criticality of IT governance and risk management approach. Some of the most difficult aspects of such shift are helping IT professionals truly understand that they need to change, establishing a new culture, communicating, and then engaging so that the old culture does not slip back in. After all, business and IT are all on the same team to ensure the organization as a whole can achieve an optimal business result for long term growth.

Exploration: IT is an important component in building differentiated business capabilities, which allow the organization to explore the new opportunities and unleash business potentials. From innovation perspective: IT mantra is shifting from “doing more with less,” to “doing more with innovation.” However, running an innovative IT doesn't mean IT will go “wild,” or "rogue"; more about IT should go smarter and flexible. In fact, creativity and process have to go hand in hand; without process there is chaos and from the chaos, it’s hard to be creative. It is practical to run a bimodal IT - IT still needs to keep the fundamental right - keep the light on to achieve the benefits of industrializing certain domains of activities and business’s bottom line. But IT should spend more resources and energy to explore the growth opportunity, to provide agile products and services, and to become an innovation engine to contribute to the top line growth of the business as well.

Effectiveness & Efficiency: Doing right things before doing things right. IT needs to shift from an order taker to an order shaker, A CIO is not a chief officer unless they are part of the senior leadership team to co-create business strategy, CIOs should be able to bridge the chasm between the operational aspects and the vision that they are creating for the business. To build effective IT leadership, CIOs must speak the language of the business. CIOs who are pure technologists will fail, but those who already speak the language of business value are at better place. From digital transformation perspective, the underlying point is that transformation is consciously changing the direction of a business (or part thereof), not a simple change and that a fundamentally different approach is required for standard projects. But most organizations fail to recognize the difference and thus, either fail or do not realize the full potential of transformational initiatives. After ensuring the effectiveness of IT change or transformation at the strategical level, they need to identify those individuals within the team who can carry their vision downwards to the team to achieve IT efficiency and agility at operational and tactical level. That said, the pair of effectiveness and efficiency is always critical to run a high mature IT.

The ultimate goal for IT is to achieve the big E -IT EXCELLENCE via enablement, explorement, and effectiveness and Efficiency. IT is the only entity in the organization supposed to understand business entirely and oversight organizational processes horizontally, IT needs to be able to provide an innovative solution or supply a differentiated capacity that contributes to both top line growth and the bottom line success of the organization. IT needs to become business enablers and  innovation engine, rather than just tools or a back office service. IT must lead in reaching high-level performance and excellence.


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