Thursday, December 17, 2015

Running IT as a Pathfinder in Digital Transformation

IT more often needs to play a pivotal role in discovering the path to strategy implementation.

Digital transformation represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interact with its ecosystem, with the customer at the center of its focus. IT is in a unique position to look at the business at a profound level - the business information and processes, can IT be running as an innovation pathfinder for an organization’s digital transformation?

Path-finding in business strategy design and implementation: Obviously, when it comes to the doing of Strategic Planning, at a high level, this could involve creating a framework for understanding the organization's core capabilities. Strategy design is not just about defining what is your goals, but it is the path, to the achievement of the goal. IT has the bird view of business processes which underpin the organizational capabilities so it can provide unique input to build a capability-based digital strategy. The success in executing a strategy depends on the kind of inputs, data, information, management assumptions that go into strategy formulation. As a steward of business information, IT can also help to look at uphill to identify the real problems that matter, and on a scale that can make a difference. Looking deeply into the future can have a profound effect on where you go, and how you get there. There are very few businesses today can state that IT does not play a significant role in the day to day operations or even long-term strategic positioning. Hence, organizations need to take that into consideration when establishing strategic goals to manage their digital transformation. IT more often needs to play a pivotal role in discovering the path to strategy implementation, and it is also an important component in building the differentiated business capabilities in executing strategy. Also, 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.

Path-finding in catalyzing business innovation: IT-Information technology should be seen by any business as a “digital transformer.” IT department should not live in a silo, or a function running as a help desk only. Often technology is the digital disrupter, and the information is the “gold mine,” to catch the upcoming business opportunities. Why innovations happen and who is the strategic partners to drive innovation? Innovations happen because of specific business needs. Unique challenges become more apparent as we push the limits of the available technology, which pushes us to find a solution to the problem at hand. Focus on the VALUE proposition to run a digital IT. The role of the CIO is to drive the corporate vision and strategy through effectiveness and innovation in the knowledge and information channels. The CIO has to look forward and actively position the business in the right place to take full advantage of opportunities. DRIVING is not a passive activity. To digitize and speed up IT, the CIO should look to businesses outside their industry to spur the out-of-box thinking and dot-connecting innovation; to find examples and opportunities for how the other firms addressed similar challenges and implemented different types of products and services to delight customer or reach new markets.

Path-finding in unleashing talent potential:  CIOs must be the change agent, talent master, and be a good catalyst for business to differentiate by leveraging of IT. It all starts at the beginning, to make the most impact. If we always do the same thing the same way, we'll always get the same result. IT as a “digital brain” in the organization, should always be in the “thinking mode”: What can we do differently? What is stopping people from being autonomous, pursuing mastery and seeking purpose? And how to unleash talent potential via empowering them with the right information at the right time? 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. IT is a conductor to orchestrate digital sympathy via leveraging digital tools and social platforms to build a culture of innovation.

In the world where change is significantly speeding up, that business leaders couldn’t predict the future with a certain degree of accuracy, the strategy can no longer stay static, and strategy execution is an iterative continuum. the business goals can no longer be well framed in advance. IT plays a more crucial role in finding a path to strategy building, implementation, and innovation. Business/IT leaders should also realize the breakthrough success in digital business requires not only forward-thinking strategies but also a transformation of the company's underlying functions and processes, in order to build the new sets of business capabilities to adapt to the VUCA digital normality.


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