Thursday, February 4, 2016

Running IT with High Digital “IQ”

It has become more obvious that data and information stored and processed in the IT boxes is the real source of business innovation.

Organizations across industrial sectors are on the journey of digital transformation. Digital IQ is a measure of how well companies understand the value of technology and weaves it into the fabric of their organizations. Therefore, the assessment of the digital maturity of an organization include: Can your company rely on an IT system that is a commodity (standardized usage of technologies), or is the IT system the core of your business? The approach depends on the company business and the role that IT plays in defining its positioning in the market. Here are three “I” aspects of fine-tuning digital IQ of IT and overall business:

Digital Innovation: Innovation is to "make meaningful connections." Innovation can be delivered in many different ways. Organizations define what innovation means to them and how they choose or need to deliver, such as business model innovation, culture innovation, structure innovation, products/service/ process innovation. etc. Digital IT is running like an innovation engine to weave process, technology to an overall framework for idea creation and innovation management which will help to sustain progress and minimize the risk of idea flops. But can you identify these innovation pitfalls? Innovation fails because people start the innovation process without proper sized, prioritized platforms based on consumer needs. They may begin ideation in a host of ways that are founded on new technology, ethnographies, a cross-functional ideation, etc., without truly knowing if they are fishing (ideating) where the fish are. Innovation fails because there are too many disconnects that occur between the birth of a vision/concept and the process of turning it into a reality; lack of information actually gathered for the innovative ideas that come up and make them a reality. So can IT help to connect innovation dots more seamlessly? IT should not just run the business today, but help “grows the business” for tomorrow. IT is not just a set of tools to improve efficiency, but a business solution providers moving from functioning to delight. IT can introduce a 'measure' for assessing the potential for any improvement opportunity, feature enhancement, or initiative to offer a competitive advantage.

Digital Intelligence: IT is shifting from a technology custodian to an information steward to manage the full data-performance life cycle includes data --> analysis --> decisions --> performance effectively. Analytics is means to the end, not the end. Many information-savvy organizations have invested in tools and created analytic teams to make informed, real-time decisions. Historical data is always relevant and has potential value, but the analysis of the data has no value unless someone decides to act on it. However, in reality, there is not enough focus on decisions. Monetization of analytics efforts is very essential. The insights obtained by data mining needs to be converted into an actionable plan and outcome validated in terms of financial figure s.To deliver value from analytics, organizations must turn information into knowledge, insight, wisdom, and enabling making the right decisions at the right time. That is one of the most important responsibilities for digital IT to fulfill. Many CIOs apply analytics to understand what has happened (the "descriptive" view, or the "rear-view" mirror), and to learn from it, then understanding what can happen (the "predictive" view). Some CIOs have even gone a step further and looked at how it should be (the "prescriptive" view), and aligned appropriate technology solutions to support and enable business goals and objectives

Digital Investment: Only CIOs put "Chief Investment Officer" hat on, he/she can scrutinize IT effort via the business lens. IT must invest in and leverage appropriate technologies and solutions to generate valuable insights to help their businesses open up new channels of revenue and monetization within the enterprise, their ecosystem, and the industry. The CIO and IT function must be contributing to the future business strategy by leveraging technology as a means to an end, not the end itself. The three keys to presenting IT value are financial returns, return timeline, and risk. Just like any other investment. If you can present IT' project portfolio in a manner similar to an investment portfolio, it makes instant conceptual sense to board and C-level folks. Once you start prattling on about TCO and IT-centric metrics you've lost your audience. If you can show the objective of the investment and the three elements above, you can present IT as a value generator rather than a cost center. It should be preceded by lots of work that shows IT project (and the IT Strategic Plan) links to the business plan. Convincing shareholders about IT values by showing them projected benefits to meet the strategy, and IT is perceived by business as a growth catalyzer.

IT is, and will continue to be, a critical department. It has become more obvious that data and information stored and processed in the IT boxes is the real source of business innovation. IT is like the digital brain of the organization, its effectiveness and agility will directly boost the business digital IQ, optimize organizational capabilities and improve business competency.


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