Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Five Aspects to Rebrand IT as a Value Creator

Rebranding IT starts with rebooting mindsets of the business management, following by retooling IT management practices.

IT is being treated as a cost center and technology controller for years, because many IT organizations are seen as a help desk and a maintenance center to keep the light on, or simply cannot give a fair accounting of where the money is going in terms of business capability or, more importantly, directly identifying the business value. Now with the accelerating digital speed, IT organizations are at the crossroad, either to reinvent its tarnished image or become irrelevant in the digital age. So the challenge facing IT leaders would how to re-imagining IT and unleash its potential.

Business enabler: IT is not just a set of tools to improve efficiency for running the business at the moment, but a business solution provider moving from functioning to delight, from fixing things to growing the business for the long term. IT leadership has, for some time now, been focused on driving efficiency on company's systems of record. Even if you have an operation’s "run the business" budget and a "growing the business" project portfolio, you shouldn’t sacrifice tomorrow ("transform the business") in favor of solving today's, or yesterday's problems, so you can keep running the business for long-term. To run IT as a business enabler, IT can introduce a 'measure' for assessing the potential for any improvement opportunity, feature enhancement, or take the initiative to offer a competitive advantage.

Innovation engine: Why the innovations happen and who is the strategic partner to drive innovation? Innovations happen because of specific business needs. The business sees it increasingly needs IT to develop and innovate core products and processes and demand that IT delivers innovative business solutions. Unique challenges become more appear as we push the limits of the available technology, which pushes us to find a solution to the problem on hand. Hence, IT should understand what it can offer to meet that demand and even surpass it by sparking business innovations made possible by technology push and information pull. 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.

Digital brain: IT is the steward of business data & information. Digital IT is all about how to deliver the right information to the right people at the right time to help them make the right decision. Often technology is the digital disrupter, and the information is the “gold mine,” and they become an important “clue” to catch the upcoming business opportunities. Information is raw material when you manipulate the raw material in meaningful ways, which give you business insight to interpret and utilize, then you have established a value. Metaphorically, IT is like the “digital brain” of the business, data by itself is meaningless until it’s interpreted and analyzed. Technology enables large data sets to be captured and presented for analysis, but the value hidden in data is only revealed through intelligent reasoning. IT plays the critical role in information lifecycle management to transform raw data - information - insight/intelligence - wisdom. Indeed, IT is the digital brain of its organization.

Business integrator: IT is not just part of the business; it is a critical, integral component of the business. IT plays the significant role to weave all necessary elements together to orchestrate a digital transformation symphony. Because CIOs sit in a unique seat of having the opportunity to see across the entire landscape of the business, they must work to integrate and lead the integration (not merely alignment) of IT to business processes and the strategic value proposition. The ultimate goal is to push the IT organization to be clear about its position via the company's core business strategy. Once that's clear, CIOs must reinforce that position by demonstrating every day how IT contributes to it. Also, IT must partner with human change management experts to manage change. In the end, it is not about technology, but what technology can do, and information can provide when it is enabling and integrating with change management and business processes to deliver the strategic differentiation.
Capability builder: IT is the most critical element in building complex and differentiated business capabilities today. The focus of IT is to provide business capabilities (both necessities and competencies), rather than smart solutions. Large, complex enterprises require a multilayered value proposition from their IT organizations. In multi-national organizations, the IT disaster increases exponentially, due to the fact that there is a limited attempt by the business to really understand what they really want, how system dynamics impacts their requirements, IT resources have limited abilities to question this. The only way forward is to enhance collaboration within and beyond departmental boundaries to leverage knowledge in the organization. In order to build tailored business capabilities enabling strategy implementation, CIOs have to be able to navigate the business objectives and corporate strategy and lead the creation and execution of the corresponding technical strategy for achieving the company’s strategic goals. It's all about the maturity of the IT organization.The right balance among the elements of an IT organization's value proposition depends on the style and market position of the business as a whole, combined with the expected contribution that IT makes.

Business paradigm is shifting from an industrial era to an information/digital era, from a static -”built to last” back office function to a dynamic “built to design.” digital engine. IT department should not live in a silo, or a function running as a help desk only. -Information technology should be seen by any business as a “digital transformer.” IT plays a pivotal role in such transformation, and therefore, IT value needs to reflect such shift. There are tangible (cost saving, efficiency, etc.) and intangible (brand equity, sales enablement, capability building etc.) components of value. And rebranding IT starts with rebooting mindsets of the business management, following by retooling IT management which includes: reformulate principles, develop strategy, restructure the organization and present a new value proposition.


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