Sunday, December 6, 2015

Three “L”s in Running a Digital IT

A digital CIO’s legacy is based on his/her quality of being both an artist and a technologist.

IT is at the crossroad, the majority of IT organizations get stuck in the lower-level of maturity and struggle to prove their unique value, for helping the business gain competitive advantage.  So what are the best ways to demonstrate IT value, and build competitive advantage? here we introduce three “L” factors in running a high-value digital IT.

Leveraging Information Management to problem-framing and decision making: One of the important goals to run a value-driven IT is to make sure the right people to get the right information at the right time to make the right decision. The information allows you to build an actionable insight as to how to move from one level to the other. It applies to the context and environment in which decisions are made. Information, inclusive of data, as input is the primary driver of decisions when it applies to automated systems, not human beings. Better and efficient information management can provide visibility into the business and certain kind of trends can be seen and the early decision can be made in order to launch new services, manage changes, and improvement in the services, and ultimately create business value, particularly for the long term.

Legacy IT Modernization: In many well established IT organizations, legacy IT systems and processes are critical for business’s survival, but also drag down the business speed of changes, and make their IT organization as a cost center, not a value creator. Therefore, IT consolidation, integration, modernization, cloudification, and innovation are the necessary steps in IT management life cycle, and from IT talent management perspective, It is also important to build an innovative IT workforce with talent people who can think differently, always shape the new box of thinking, mind the gap of the traditional way to solve the problems, establish insight into approach and style in different situations. They could become the innovation champions, to rejuvenate legacy IT, legacy process, legacy enterprise,  legacy industries, and even ‘legacy” social-ecosystem. In addition, what’s the legacy of IT leadership? The CIO needs to be enterprise ‘polyglot,’ to master both business language and IT terminology, architect dialect and culture tones; regional viewpoint and global perspective; the gap can only be bridged by ensuring that the CIO is an excellent communicator, who is business aware and only finally, technically aware.  Key is Language - the CIO needs to talk in commercial outcomes, not technical throughput; be seen to be leveraging current assets before seeking the latest techie toys; have team leaders partner with and even embed themselves in business functions so they can ensure IT folks understanding the commercial end point of their work rather than it being an abstract set of code. In short, the CIO needs to talk like and actually deliver as a business executive who is also a great communicator not only understand multiple ‘languages’ but also know the business context and always bring insight to the table.

Logic based on in-depth understanding business processes, customer insight, and revenue model: The business is no longer satisfied with the hindsight or operational insight based on traditional BI solutions, they are more interested in knowing what’s in customers’ mind: both positive and negative feedback; what’s the products & service trends in the future, what will the business act for the next step to embrace the change., etc, invest the trend, not just your core business, it’s the mantra in today’s business environment. IT can both manage information and oversee business processes to provide data-based business logic to help the organization ride the wave, build the instant-on value added capability. The CIO understands the role of information in designing and bringing success to a business model. Being an integral part of the business units planning and budget processes, so the CIO has a clear understanding of the revenue drivers and helps business improve both bottom line efficiency and the top line business growth.  

IT needs to develop systematic measure approach to assessing its multi-dimensional value beyond just monetary benefit via in-depth understanding about these “L” factors. It is important for management to calculating IT value-added contribution, rather than just pushing the technology out, because IT has to rebrand itself as a value creator and strategic business partner. And digital CIO’s legacy is based on his/her quality of being both an artist and technologist -  in brilliantly imagining the vision, mission, and business models of tomorrow while architecting the ability to succeed in the missions and business models of today. Of equal importance, he/she must then be able to take the vision of the company and translate it to his/her staff, who collectively will help find a path and be responsible for the tactical execution in concert with other areas of the company. In short, running IT as a business.


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