Monday, September 12, 2016

Practice CIO Plus Leadership to Run IT with “Enlightenment”

IT “enlightenment” comes when IT is both winning heart, mind, and profit to improve the top line business growth.

IT is moving up its maturity level from functioning to firm to delight. IT is neither luxury nor commodity, it's a competitive differentiator. With the new and disruptive technologies, CIOs need to change IT DNA from 'static" with change inertia to "dynamic" with change as a new normal; from a controller to an enabler, from "inside-out" operation driven to "outside-in" customer-centric. No more dictating technology solutions, but having a better understanding of the business and transforming IT into a business partner for providing business and customer-driven solutions.

IT "enlightenment" comes when IT allows the business to do new things: IT is transforming from “controller” to “enabler,” and even "catalyzer," leading through “pulling” than ‘pushing.’ When IT is only the mechanism for realizing a vision described by other C-level executives, it is a commodity. When CIOs become top executive plus role, a critical and integral member of the C-level, beyond a hands-on IT manager, IT is becoming far more than simply keeping the lights on - but transforming to significant business enablement, as a full business partner. In order to make such a digital shift, IT must be willing to take the constructive criticism from customers, and turn the beating, lashing, and criticism into opportunities by demonstrating through the delivery of successful IT projects that not only benefit the business but gives customers a sense of personal satisfaction. To put simply, IT cannot simply create the potential for value, they must be engaged enough with the business (not just the technology that supports the business) to actively participate in value realization.

IT “enlightenment” comes when IT is no longer just dealing with technical challenges, but solving thorny business problems: It does not necessarily mean CIOs will solve every problem on their own. It’s about the ability to think analytically and synthetically to manage business solution via high-performance IT team; the ability to align the business requirement with the IT capacity, the strong business orientation to bring the benefits of IT to solve business issues. It means that CIOs are able to constantly and dynamically lead an IT structure that will seamlessly support the business and well ahead of the business requirement; the ability to interact with business on their processes and pain areas, the ability to bring out a technology-driven solution, driving adoption of applications (going with change management, the most difficult piece). The CIO-plus role is like the spinal cord for the organization, integrating various departments, to simplify and unify processes across functional boundaries, and often across the entire enterprise. This requires an unprecedented level of collaboration with the line managers and business units who own those processes.

IT “enlightenment” comes when IT is both winning heart, mind, and profit to improve the top line business growth: CIOs have to get the transformation agenda right and have access to both external and internal resources to achieve the desired ROI. But without your peers' collaborating, the work will become much harder, so get as many people pulling in the same direction as possible. The digital CIO should focus on the information content and context; how that information can be tapped from the underlying data and be utilized to turn it into valuable strategic insight, to both enchant customers and delight employees, focus on how the information and insight can be penetrated through the business and be actively used in grasping business opportunities, managing business processes and shaping the business capabilities to execute business strategy solidly.

Today, the CIO is not just managing IT to keep the lights on, but managing the information to ensure the right people getting the right information at the right time to make the right decision, to enable enterprise growth, to become nimble and gain the competitive edge, to harness innovation catalyzed by IT and lead to business transformation. In order to drastically change IT landscape, you must have passion and drive at the core along with daily grinding. In fact, CIO is a leadership plus role to run digital IT with enlightenment.


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