Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Triple “A”s in Digital IT

The triple "A"s in digital IT enable lifting up IT agility and overall corporate maturity.

Due to the “disruptive” nature of technology and the abundance of information, IT plays more significant role in business’s digital transformation, because 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 innovative solution or supply a differentiated solution that contributes to both top line growth and the bottom line success of the organization. There is an “alphabetic soup” in running a digital IT which must lead in reaching high-level performance; besides triple “I”s - Information, Innovation, and Integration, here, we introduce the triple “A”s in digital IT:

Automation: Automation is needed for efficiency to balance the demand and supply. The first stage in the journey to automation must be to examine every process and identify how it can be made more efficient and how it connects to other processes. Many IT departments operate in silos with separate teams delivering separate functional tasks: backup, monitoring, security, server administration, mail administration. Effective automation should first examine these functions and understand the connections and define any constraints in the system. Identify and remove the inefficiencies and rationalize the manual actions first. As this process goes along, see what can be automated by scripts or just by using the automation available natively within many of the tools you already have, but don’t use it because you don’t examine the processes from a holistic viewpoint on a regular basis. Often times the simple act of reviewing, connecting and rationalizing will itself improve efficiency and introduce elements of automation that have not previously existed. One of the key areas to examine when undertaking this review is not just the effort involved in any tasks, but the time impact on subsequent tasks having to wait for key tasks to be completed. IT needs to take the wise steps to do consolidation, modernization, automation, integration, innovation, and optimization to improve its overall maturity.

Analytics: In the majority of organizations, IT is the steward of corporate data, and back to the fundamental, the title of CIO is Chief Information Officer. The ultimate goal of any data analysis is to make effective decisions. Big Data has diversified format with five “Vs”: Volume, Velocity, Variety, Veracity, and Value. The Big Data is characterized by long strings of unstructured and semi-structured data in multiple petabytes amounts. The term Big Data is a reference to the largest amount of data ever generated by humankind. "Big data" as a term addresses several parts: concept, data, technology, adoptions /case, analytics scenario; some experts also consider sensor and log data as Big Data because the characteristics are very similar. Regardless how big or complex does not make sense if not converted into usable information for decision making to identify, analyze and solve issues for the better of the company and its stakeholders including customers. This needs the right tools and knowledge. It brings together insights for teams that unify developers, data and business experts to work directly with a digital leader, with a budget and an outcome of managing.

Agility: Agile isn't primarily about engineering. It is about making organizations more waste-repellent. Many companies have incorporated Agile practices into broader-based business (non-development) practices, from strategic planning to customer services. Hence, it is too narrow-minded if you think "Agile is an engineering solution to an engineering problem, designed for developers, not managers." Besides managers seeking to be enlightened, the agility can be productivity multipliers by eliminating impediments; understand the fundamentals of core agile principles which are not only in the spirit of Agile but in a sense serve as a mature cornerstone of its implementations, they should also understand the fundamentals of creation of value, constraints, etc. Whether you have Agile teams or not, you still need to have management discipline and, if you prefer, leadership. Agile IT organizations are able to adapt quickly in a sustainable manner to changes (threats, opportunities) of any dimension in the operating environment and grow. Implementing agility starts from the ground up, and cannot/shouldn't be imposed on teams. The development team wants to own their process, talk to their customer and deliver their customers requirements through better quality software and processes. However, ground up cannot succeed if the development team has to fight the company culture, rules, and processes. Therefore, C-levels such as CIOs needs to focus on creating the right organizational culture, where people can take ownership of their processes and believe they will benefit from doing so. Organizations with Agile culture can identify both opportunities and risks, and response to them with speed and resilience.

There is no one size fits all formula to run a high effective IT, because, different IT organizations and enterprise as a whole are at the different stage of business maturity, IT can be used as a tool, enabler, catalyzer, or a digital platform to meet the ultimate goal of an organization's Short/Medium/Long-term strategic plans. Focus on the VALUE proposition to run a digital IT, you need to understand the business strategy with IT as a core element, and how IT organizations can deliver effectively to meet business objectives, that is to deliver business value with IT.


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