Saturday, October 3, 2015

Three “I”s in Digital IT

Digital IT needs to focus on three “I”s Innovation, Insight, and Integration to improve agility and maturity of an organization as a whole.

Nowadays, information is the lifeblood of organizations, and technology is often the innovation disruptor. Information technology should be seen by any business as a “digital transformer” and strategy enabler. It is a significant part of the business strategy, and not simply as a tool or mechanism to support business goals. Therefore, IT leaders need to be able to intrinsically understand business needs - growth, cost structure, processes etc and translate that into an IT strategy which is the integral component of business strategy, it is responsive and can be scaled. Fundamentally, there are three “I”s in digital IT.

Innovation: From an 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; it doesn't mean IT should get rid of all those processes or IT framework hassles. 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. Using both modes-creativity and IT framework to be successful; that could sound like a contraction. But actually you need to run IT with two modes: the systematic approach with IT framework to achieve the benefits of industrializing certain domains of activity such as service management, Infrastructure management etc, the digital shift for IT in some industries is to be innovative with systems of engagement rather than systems of record. The available digital technology just makes innovation easier to do now than in the past - less costly, more easily accessible.

Insight: IT Data can be analyzed to showcase the improvement in customer efficiency, process improvement, and business benefits etc. While IT should view itself as a business, the IT departments should also view themselves as a business entity with requirements to look for ways to improve, better serve their customers, become more secure, more efficient and responsive, etc. Big Data provides clues to identify growth opportunities and locate business problems. IT knows the business well and also has access to all sorts of data on the organization. What is needed to do is to develop a high-performing data analytics team to identify unknown opportunities for business or help them analyze the data and find out the reason for some business problems, so successful IT can then earn a commendable respect in respective business. More often than not, IT is not the end of analytics, but a media to the end. There are few use cases for IT as an end-user of big data analytics solutions, more frequently IT would be more on the enabling end (selecting a scalable analytics infrastructure, adopting new technologies, integrating structured and unstructured data) for big data analytics.

Integration: IT plays the significant role to weave all necessary elements together to orchestrate a digital transformation symphony. What we are seeing now is the further extension of these earlier phases of computing. We have more computing power, greater connectivity, more data, greater potential empowerment of the worker, etc. The advent of the SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud) technologies and the growing increase in IT revenue generating initiatives around the globe; the impact of today’s technologies, their integration with the other new technologies, and like in the past the integration with “older” technologies, seems to be more profound, especially given the concurrent ecosystem changes going on. Technology abundance is not for its own sake, but to solve either business problems or human challenge. The seamless rhythm of IT- Business integration combined with the process maturity to ensure ROI, security, data consistency, and interoperability remains the goal of IT. How close to seamless IT can get depends on the players, culture, company, and industry.

As CIOs will continue to be put on the front line to run IT as a digital transformer, they need to ensure their organization is ready for change, space and time are made to scope, plan, and execute the project. And more importantly, the transformation is not only about technology solution, every IT project is a business initiative. Digital IT needs to focus on three “I”s Innovation, Insight, and Integration to improve agility and maturity of an organization as a whole.


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