Friday, February 26, 2016

Three Things Differentiate Digital Masters from Laggards

Digital Masters can stretch out in every business dimension for driving the full-fledged digital transformation.

Digital transformation is a journey. Although digitalization is on every forward-looking organization’s agenda, they may take different levels of altitude, attitude, and aptitude to achieve it. There are three levels of digital maturity, the level one- digital laggards often take a skeptical attitude about the radical change, have very limited advanced digital capability, and pretty much still running with structured silos at the industrial speed. The level 2 -digital mediocrity takes a conservative mindset or attitude to move with digital speed. And the level 3 - digital masters (less than 15%) of overall businesses are digital forerunners who are courageous to be in the vanguard of digital transformation with a quantum lead, they also develop the set of advanced and unique digital capabilities and build a digital premium into the very foundation of the business. More specifically, what are important things differentiate digital masters from digital laggards?

Leadership difference: Digital leadership is the unique combination of leadership mindsets and behaviors that develop and achieves high quality and meaningful results over a sustained period of time. Digital leadership can be described as "adaptability meets agility.” At today’s “digital dynamic with VUCA” (Velocity, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) characteristics, Being thoughtful, mindful and multi-dimensional thinker is more crucial to improve leadership effectiveness. Digital leaders need to be more original, positive, progressive, courageous, conscious, creative and curious, and to adopt mindsets of not knowing, challenging convention, maximizing diversity and being willing to experiment, as a basis for then being able to think differently, independently, and globally. The next skill level up is mental agility, adaptive capacity, synthesizing creativity. Then you can add on influence, such as persuasive skills, motivational skills, political skills, decision-making skills, interpersonal skills, conflict management skills, and finally conceptual skills.

Strategy proficiency: VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) is a digital new normal, as complexity and uncertainty increasing, the connection between any single individual organization’s strategy, and their tactical plans and actions can become diluted and disconnected. You can develop a strategic plan based on the improvement of the real situation by analyzing the mandate and extract policies that enable you to make the vision and missions, then to make the smart objectives, policies, and programs that solve your developments problems. Digital strategy needs to be more dynamic in order to capture the emergent opportunities - Admit those disruptive events may occur. Learn to stay alert and to observe with subtlety and learn fast. It’s about agile strategy-execution cycle. It's not all about "making a strategy" as end-product, but about implementing it afterward. It is also about communicating about the quality of the strategy, saying openly what is known and what is not. To "be opportunistic" could also be expressed as stay curious, especially for the unexpected; even the unwanted - in order to recognize the emergence of the completely new phenomenon. Making a strategy in times of uncertainty and unpredictability is an interesting way of putting things right, plan, but be able to adapt quickly to current realities. The greater that conditions of uncertainty prevail, the more likely it is that the final strategy will be a product of emergent thinking rather than the original formulation. Regardless how many distractions in the business ecosystem, Digital Masters concentrate on the strategic goals and objectives of their organizations and make sure that the roles and functions are stated perfectly.  

IT as an innovation and revenue growth engine: IT plays the critical role in the business's digital transformation, IT can drive the business but it should be in conjunction with the business. IT and the CIO can apply their knowledge of technology to propose products, services, offerings, new ways of doing things, etc. to the business, to run IT as a business that contributes to the revenue growth. The de facto best practices of managing IT project portfolio need to include such as, only manage business projects, not for technology's sake, prioritize the portfolio, and manage the full application lifecycle in a continuous delivery and improvement mode. For example, if App Dev can't keep up with the demand and pace of business change, then there are problems. But AppDev should not innovate simply to amuse itself as well; and it's wasteful of resources, money, effort in many companies. From AppDev to potential application retirement, with the right methodology (either Agile, DevOp., etc), talent and metrics, to catch up with the speed of business changes without sacrificing the quality.

Digital maturity matters, the small percentage of Digital Masters can stretch out in every business dimension for driving the full-fledged digital transformation to adapt to the new world of the business: Faster, always “on,” high connected and super competitive. The philosophy and methodology that digital masters use can be selectively adopted by any company that has the digital leadership drive to do so. It requires strong leadership to drive changes, a vision for why and a dynamic planning on how you want to get there, from doing digital to being digital.


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