Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How to set the Right Priorities for Running Digital IT with Full Speed

Setting priority to leverage limited resources and talent to maximizing business value is an important step in climbing organizational maturity.

IT plays a significant role in the digital transformation of the organization because information is permeating into every corner of the business and technology is often the disruptive force of innovation. However, the majority of IT organizations get stuck at the lower level of maturity, overloaded and understaffed, slow to change, and operate in a "surviving mode." How to set the right priority to thrive and run digital IT with the full speed?

Setting priority to solving the problems making the most impact on strategy: The higher mature IT is as a business partner, rather than a service desk, the faster IT can lead the business's digital transformation. IT leaders need to have the strategic mind and skill-set to contribute business problem defining and solving. IT should play as an optimistic and cautious innovator with an in-depth understanding of technology potential and limitation, opportunity, and risk, IT needs to become a strategic partner of the business by focusing on the things matter for the business's long-term perspective based on the technological vision. The intimate Business-IT partnership is the ultimate status for IT to deliver better fit, right-on and cost-effective solutions, even you cannot fulfill all business’s demands, but you deliver what you promise, and you do what is the best fit for the business’s strategy and goals.

It is both the art and science to know when to say YES, and when to say NO to your internal customers: Being customer-centric doesn't mean just being an order taker, to overpromise, but under-deliver; it means to focus on implementing things really important to improve customer satisfaction. Hence, you need to be humble enough to listen to customers; also be confident enough to say 'NO' for fair reasons. Sometimes, what IT and users define as "innovation" are two entirely different things. In the IT department, it means pushing the limits of technology, whereas to the users it means making their jobs and lives simpler. In some well-established organizations, IT is the controller with a bit ‘arrogant' attitude, without doing enough to engage business in collecting requirement and setting priority. The business requires that IT provides solutions to real-life business problems. This can only be achieved through constant engagement and both sides see the other as a "partner" rather than as an adversary.

The CIO has to make a priority choice based on ROI and risks: Many forward-thinking IT organization are run as change organizations of businesses. However, change is not for its own sake or busyness. Understanding the technology is one thing, understanding the impact of the change on the business is another thing entirely. IT contribution to business value does not come from the technology itself, but from the change that IT both shapes and enables. Only through the in-depth understanding of business, the CIO can make a priority choice based on ROI and calculated risks. The CIO is responsible for new technology adoption, the CIO's role is beyond strategy implementer and more into a strategy maker or at least with the influential power to shape and keep in harmony with the business, market, products, and resources. The CIO can only set the right priority choice if they have the data available to them and proactively understand business and customer first to avoid changing for the technology’s sake. So IT organizations can innovate towards simplicity and discover the new secure way to improve business agility and customer satisfaction.

Setting priority to leverage limited resources and talent to maximizing business value is an important step in climbing organizational maturity. Ultimately, more transparency in the IT value proposition to the business plus more engagement a partnership is needed with the organization. IT should be creating value across organizational lines and not silo-ed as years gone by, and IT can run at full speed without too many distractions and misunderstanding by setting the right priority and doing works effectively.


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