Sunday, August 7, 2016

Running IT with both High Digital “IQ” and “EQ”

IT with both high "digital IQ and EQ" can proactively build all different management capabilities and play a different role in the situation at hand.

At individual level, we know that leadership effectiveness is based on the good combination of “IQ +EQ” (and beyond at today’s digital new normal with “VUCA” characteristics); at the business level, how agile and mature the organization is also based on how “intellectual” it can make effective decisions, detect the growth opportunities and manage risks, as well as how excellent it can adapt to changes via the collective mindsets and attitudes (Culture). From IT management perspective, how to run digital IT as a “digital brain” of the business with both high “IQ” and “EQ” traits?

Running an “I” - Information-driven IT to improve the overall business’s “digital IQ”: IT is the information steward of the business. Information is the foundation of creating business insight, insights perceive the new business opportunities and risks. However, the organizational data environment is often fraught with inconsistency, if IT does it well, it will achieve high business value. Information Management means that the business has the information, that the information has the right quality, that the information is used properly, but also that managing information (the information provisioning) is a strategic imperative, to ensure the right people getting the right information to make right decisions at the right time. IT stands out as a value-added function by managing information effectively and efficiently. It can abstract business and customer insight from explosive information, and bring to the table tailored solutions that meet customers’ needs, while reducing the cost to market, without sacrifice of strategic goals and strategies invoked on it by its business partners. However, in many companies, the person assuming the position of the CIO was rarely seen as the chief 'Information' Officer, but the “Boss of all things Bits and Bytes.” IT gets stuck at the lower level of maturity. Thus, the digital IQ of IT organization depends on the IT leader's "digital IQ." Fundamentally, it boils down to whether the CIO perceive himself/herself as a business leader or leader of the IT function within the organization. The contemporary CIOs with high digital IQ should focus on the INFORMATION aspect of the role in the context of the business, modern IT needs more integrated data lifecycle management solutions to conquer information management challenges, and provide information accessibility and availability, ensure transparency and visibility, enable trust and reliability, with the goals of running a highly intelligent and highly effective digital business.

Running IT as a “strategic business partner,” with high “digital EQ” (Operational Excellence and business maturity): At the individual level, EQ is one of the significant indicators to assess a person’s professional maturity and leadership potential; at business level, “Digital EQ” is to assess the overall operational excellence and business maturity, with a culture of change. The EQ of IT can be read via how business partners perceive IT organization. IT needs to engage with the business units to find out how the department is perceived, what the pain points are and to identify opportunities for developing new services or improving/ optimizing current ones. In the end, the low maturity of IT stems from the prevailing cultural norm that accepts IT as a tactical function, but not as a strategic partner. Until this changes, IT will be stuck in the struggle between "big bang" initiatives that take multiple years, huge budgets and rarely deliver as promised and "no bang" tasks that are mundane, misunderstood and underappreciated (if appreciated at all) by most organizations. The organization’s digital EQ can also be read via the business’s cultural expression. Is it the culture that can fulfill the business vision and accelerate strategy execution today? Is it still helping the company grow and transform? When the company grows, the corporate culture tends to stay the same over time -the culture inertia. it turns out to be the very barrier to stop businesses from gaining agility and maturity. However, in order to move up to the next level of organizational maturity, the culture needs to be changed as well to adapt to emerging digital trends and pulling strategy execution towards the right decision. IT can play a crucial role in shaping a culture of change via making the good alignment of people, process, and technology and integrating into tailored business solutions.

IT with both high "digital IQ and EQ" can proactively build all different management capabilities and play a different role in the situation at hand. IT involves co-creating business strategy. What should be focused on is the integration of IT into the business decision processes to improve digital IQ of the business, and leverage IT to build a culture of change and innovation, for improving the digital EQ of the business. This will allow IT to shine in both roles –as the business enabler and digital transformation driver.


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