Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Three “O” Elements in Running a Digital IT

IT plays a pivotal role in orchestrating business’s digital transformation.

IT is at the cross road, how can IT organizations build solid value proposition, and moved up its maturity to become the game changer and digital business catalyst in their companies. 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, triple “E”s Enablement, Exploration, and Effectiveness & Efficiency, triple “V”s - Vision, Value, and Variety, triple “F”s - Fast, Flow, and Flexibility; triple "T" factors - Transformation, Transparency, and Talent Management; triple “S” factors: Strategy, Speed, and Simplicity; triple “D” factors - Data, DevOp, and Design; triple “Q”s - Quality, Quantity, and Questioning; triple “G”s - Gap minding, Governance, and Gauging Performance; triple “W”s -Workforce analytics, Water-Scrum-Fall hybrid model, and Wisdom management; triple “R”s - Re-imagining, Revenue-Driven, and Risk Management; triple “K”s - Knowledge Management, “KISS” Principle, and KPI, here we introduce three “O” factors in running a high-performing digital IT.

Orchestrating Digitalization: The CIOs have to master at conducting such a hybrid digital orchestra. The "conductor" has to lead the in-house musicians and has to take into account the time lag (a fraction of a second) of the orchestras on another continent. This looks more and more like the situation faced by business and other organizational  leaders. They have to keep the in-house order, and must, simultaneously, coordinate with distant contributors; otherwise, the "music" will jar the ears. So the role of a team/business leader is to orchestrate, not to manipulate, and the fact that he/she wouldn't be able to create a 'symphony' without the full participation of his/her team members. The conductor shall harmonize the symphony via effective governing approaches. The role of the CIO and its place in the governance chain is very mixed in different organizations. Somewhere in the governance chain ‘IT’ needs to be translated to ‘business.’ It is important for the CXOs to work with these roles in a business planning and support capacity to ensure that the information and IT services being delivered are what is needed for the business to play their music. In high mature organizations, IT governance is converging with business governance and CIOs successfully conduct the music of ‘balance’ to inspire innovation and enforce standards as well.

Optimization: IT management innately knows the top challenging problems and processes to slow down the speed and stifle innovations. But why don't more leaders make targeted time to review, examine, and adjust the processes and systems? A perception of high workloads can also lead to nonoptimal responses. Pausing to create a list to adjust via human workflow to process automation can be thoughtful and rewarding. Unfortunately often in IT, there is the presumption of being able to do everything by yourself or with excel at the same old software. IT department is less open to trying new stuff because they think it is risky to leave the known for the unknown. It 'a process that must begin by the CIO (top-down) that forces IT optimization from his/her team to have realistic and reliable data in order to be able to decide. The pervasive digitalization or IT consumerism require the balance of “old experience” and “new way to do things,” the “learning and doing." Instead of just cost cutting, IT needs to have long term perspective of cost optimization via consolidation, modernization, and integration. Thinking outside the box though delivers far better results. First, the best time to lower legacy cost is at the time of the technology replacement or upgrade. Look for a replacement that offers the automation, orchestration or virtualization benefits. Increase visibility and transparency of the legacy environment through big data collection; this will provide insight into how to improve efficiency, reduce errors, and optimize costs.

Outside-in: Digital is the age of Customer-centricity. It is the era of consumerization of IT, IT organizations need to be more aware of how to empower users before they ask for it. There is a method, albeit a bit self-serving to those pushing it, called user-centric IT. It is the outside-in lenses to see IT management from customers' view, instead of just IT operation perspectives. IT's customers include both internal customers and external customers. The hard core of IT is becoming more and more ubiquitous and as a result, CIOs need to transform IT from a controller to a business enabler, from inside-out IT view to outside-in customer point of view, to empower users with the right tools and information to make decisions at the right time; IT also needs to be transformed from an order-taker to rule co-maker, not just fix the problems to keep the light on; but also set the governance principles, not rigid processes, to improve IT and overall business maturity for the long term.

IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage, and it plays a pivotal role in orchestrating business’s digital transformation. IT mission is to serve customers and being customer-centric, that means both internal and external clients. IT also needs to relentlessly optimize business capabilities, processes, and cost, to manage business complexity and improve organizational agility, effectiveness, and maturity.


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