Sunday, June 19, 2016

Running IT as an Innovation Hub

Foster innovation via leveraging disruptive technologies and streamlining information flow.

IT is omnipresent and permeated into every corner of the organization. Forward-looking organizations are also reinventing IT reputation from a cost center to a value creator, from a static support function to a dynamic change agent; and from inside-out operation driven to outside-in customer-centric. To put simply, how can IT build differentiated capabilities to become an information power center and an innovation engine?

Visionary IT leaders re-imagine IT as an innovation hub: Innovative IT can only happen if IT is regarded as a strategic business partner and given the role in catalyzing innovation and driving the business. However, the "us vs. them" mentality is often still alive in the management team within the organization. To ensure business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces, the business leaders and managers have to overcome silo thinking and empower IT leaders to manage information across the functional borders and unleash the full potential of the digital business. With the changing role of IT in a world that is increasingly more people-centric from a technology perspective, it is imperative that the CIO be a visionary as well. The role of the CIO should be able to envision not only where a company believes it is going, but how it will get there, and how it might be missing out on opportunities because of limitations on understanding of disruptive technology and information flow. More specifically, the understanding of what technology can help companies achieve and running IT as an innovation hub. Everyone in the leadership team has a gift and the future business is very complex. Business models and technologies are changing very rapidly. There is no single person who is able to deal with these complexities and speed. "Team Leadership" is able to build the future business and IT vision and, more importantly, to react very quickly and catalyze digital innovation.

Fostering innovation via leveraging disruptive technologies and streamlining information flow: There are both incremental innovation and radical innovation. IT is often the driving force for both. IT plays a significant role in managing the information-knowledge-insight cycle. Innovation is more about true knowledge acquisition first. Because if the organization has got that knowledge, it could accomplish a lot with less, and do more with innovation, and it could also use less than that 80% to achieve more than what it has today. IT needs also to ride above the learning curve, to fostering business innovation via leveraging disruptive technologies. Being able to become innovative or close is being able to think, and create new things based on its own needs, true knowledge is the optimal solution. To catalyze innovation, IT needs to ensure business strategy allowing for digital speed, If you can innovate across the business, regardless of which function you are involved in, be it IT, HR, Finance, etc. then you can surely change the shape of what you deliver, not just how it's delivered.
Balancing IT risks and opportunities: Nowadays we are living in an information explosive world where technology is pervasive and the masses are looking for their own experiences to introduce new technology into the business. At the age of IT consumerization, businesses need to understand not only the power and the opportunity information could bring in, but also the potential risks they might get exposed to. IT has to strike the right balance between innovation and standardization. It is important for IT to standardize the applications and devices customers use to keep support cost down and manage risks effectively. It is more important to fine-tune business processes and organizational culture to encourage innovation. It’s all about striking the right balance to be both innovative and effective.

There is no one size fits all formula to run a highly effective and high innovative IT. Because different IT organizations and enterprise as a whole are at a different stage of business maturity. Running IT as an innovation hub means IT can be used as a tool, enabler, catalyzer, and a digital platform to orchestrate change and facilitate idea creation and implementation, meet the ultimate goal of an organization's short/medium/long-term strategic plans. The CIO is both an artist and a technologist - in brilliantly imagining the IT vision and business models of tomorrow while architecting the ability to succeed in the missions and business models of today.


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