Friday, February 12, 2016

How to Leverage IT to Unleash the Digital Potential of the Business

IT is like a digital brain of the organization to convey the technological vision and bring the data-based insight.

Every forward-thinking organization has the digital ambition to become a customer-centric, living, and smart business. Digital organizations are hyperconnected and interdependent and they have to continue to adapt to the digital new normal with “VUCA” characteristics. Information is the lifeblood, and technology is often the “digital disruptor,” so more specifically, how can companies across industrial sectors leverage IT to unleash the digital potential of its business?

Digital is the age of customer-centricity: Being customer-centric is not just about a few best practices or even a pretty high-level customer interface, it has to go deeper to combine all key business ingredients in orchestrating a digital business which has key capabilities to delight customers. From customer integration to customer experience: behavioral, emotional, social and transactional design are well understood and practiced. And often IT is the superglue to integrate both hard and soft business elements into a differentiative digital competency. A real customer-centric approach permeates everything about the way the CIO leads in the business. It influences how you communicate about the operational crisis, it drives how you deliver services to your end-users, and it sets the agenda for every single communication action you take with everyone else in the 'C'-suite. The focus of the CIO’s role has changed from product-oriented to client-oriented. It's not necessarily a "client vs. product" centricity issue, but more about the product-driven solution enabling customer-centricity. That will also fundamentally influence many things you do - a focus on key messages that need to be delivered, specific roles in the organization with responsibility for managing relationships with internal clients, a communications plan with actions/channels/dates, and a structured approach to run IT as a business with the goal to delight both internal customers and external customers and optimize their customer experience.

Digital is the age of insight: IT is shifting from a technology custodian to an information steward. IT is also a change agent to advocate data-based culture and lead the organization to the age of insight. Information applies to the context and environment in which decisions are made. Information, with the inclusiveness of data as input, is the primary driver of decisions when they apply to automated systems, not human beings. Information Management makes information available and useful, exert lots of intelligence, do data analytics, look for insights, use the imagination, but make validation, predictability. The intention of the Eco-Information Management Life Cycle (Data-Information-Knowledge-Insight- Wisdom) is to build a high intelligent organization by capturing insight & foresight in making the right business decisions timely and bringing profits to the organization for the long term. Data quality is important as well. If you mine, cleanse and improve the data to produce information, combine that information and visualize it in different ways, then you gain organizational knowledge and from that knowledge, you can make excellent strategic and tactical decisions.

Digital is the age of innovation: There are both radical innovation and incremental innovation. Innovation is when you change the game, or you bring a different twist to what is currently established and perceived. Continuous improvement is by tweaks of things in the old fashion way to bring efficiency. More specifically, innovation can be categorized as empowered innovation (creative disruption), sustainable innovation (the better version of product/service) or efficiency innovation (process improvement). IT is a business innovation catalyst. IT can drive all sorts of innovation, proactively pushing ideas on how to leverage technology to drive revenue growth, increase business productivity, flexibility, and agility. Running IT as an innovation engine is about developing a deep understanding of the business value chain, competitive landscape, processes and capabilities, revenue models, P&L drivers, and balance sheet strengths and constraints. IT is the custodian of solutions and data assets that can be applied in new and different ways to generate massive business value that far exceeds what other functions can incrementally bring to the table. This is especially true if you are looking at new sources of value that haven't been tapped before. Innovative IT will leverage the advances in emergent technologies or existing technology differently to provide innovative solutions for business now and in the future.

IT is like a digital brain of the organization to convey the technological vision, bring the data-based insight, cultivate the frictionless business culture, re-frame processes to bridge silo, and build the optimal sets of business capabilities to delight customers. IT is an enabler and catalyzer to unleash the business’s digital potential and leap the business to reach the era of radical digital.


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