Friday, August 26, 2016

CIOs as “Chief Information Officer”: How to Unleash the Full Potential of Information

Digital is the age of information abundance.

Forward-thinking IT organizations are shifting from “T"-Technology-driven to “I” information oriented. The most powerful and differentiating tool in all of today's businesses is INFORMATION and that is provided by IT systems. The aim of modern Information Management has often been described as getting the right information to the right person, in the right format and medium, at the right time, in order to make the right decisions. The value of information is qualitative, measurable, and defined uniquely by an organization. If done well, information can unleash the business’s full potential and maximize its multi-dimensional values. On the flip side, information is also something that can hinder the achievement of strategic objectives, having it unavailable or compromised. Therefore, Information Management is one of the most important management disciples and best practices in the digital organization. So going back to fundamental, CIOs as “Chief Information Officer”: How to unleash information potential, and the full potential of the business?

Strengthen common Information Management weakness: The majority of IT organizations still get stuck at the lower level of maturity, because they react to the business’s request, lack of the long-term strategy to deal with information management lifecycle effectively and proactively. Information management entails organizing, retrieving, acquiring, securing, maintaining, updating, distributing, sharing, publishing and finally archiving information. CIOs as IT leadership should identify the common Information Management weakness by making a comprehensive assessment. The problems most organizations have are (1) Do not understand what raw material they have to play with poor or lack of information management skills (2) Do not applying worthwhile Information Management maturity evaluation to reveal the inherent value, but mostly (3) Do not understand why they should do these things in the first place, due to the gaps between IT and business, silo thinking, or lack of a clear strategy on how to diagnose the root causes of problems, and set the plans to strengthen the weakness and improving overall IT agility.  

Information Potential directly impacts the business's potential for organizations: Information does not live alone but permeates to everywhere in the businesses, thus, the value of information is not isolated. IT as the information steward of the business plays an important role in running a smart digital business. Potential information value all depends on how the information will be used again in the future and this is often exceptionally uncertain. IT should first work to identify how information is associated with the valued tangibles of businesses; products and resources; like information flow in processes, for example, then its own value will become readily apparent and quantifiable by association. Information may never be used again or it may be used multiple times. Unless you can predict how it might be used again for tangible gain, it is difficult to say what, if any, potential value. The effort of valuing information independent of its association with the value of related tangibles seems to be a difficult, if not futile, exercise. The art and science of information management are to optimize its usage and achieve its value and full potential.

The key principles of Information Management is to ensure activities are effective and successful: Information Management is the overall process of aligning the use of information through the MANAGEMENT (What data you have, in what format and the location & method it is held?), ASSURANCE (Accessibility, reliability, etc.) and EXPLOITATION (Collaboratively enabled and fully support the business objectives). More specifically, IT leaders should set principles to ensure information is managed effectively with the following focal points:
-recognize and manage complexity
- focus on adoption
- deliver tangible & visible benefits
- prioritize according to business needs
-take a journey of a thousand steps
-provide strong leadership
-mitigate risks
- communicate extensively
                                                   - aim to deliver a seamless user experience
                                                   - choose the first project very carefully

Digital CIOs need to leverage holistic thinking in managing information and unleashing its full business potential. The level of "silo” in many organizations remains far too high. But that does ensure that those CIOs with the ability to break down organizational silos bring real added value to the enterprise. Given the value that information is playing in the innovation and growth of organizations today, back to fundamental, CIOs are information stewards to run high-intelligent and high performing digital businesses.


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