Friday, October 28, 2016

Three Disconnects Decelerate IT Transformation

The business speed can only be accelerated with a clear vision, strong focus, mutual trust between business and IT, hyperconnected information flow, decision maturity, and distinctive capabilities.

Digital means the increasing speed of changes, hyperconnectivity, and always-on business dynamic. The digital hyperconnectivity is breaking down the functional borders, business borders, and even industrial or national borders. Nowadays IT impact is significant, IT is impacting every business unit and is becoming the driver of business change. However, many IT organizations still run in a reactive mode or act as a controller only, slow to change. What are the disconnects decelerate IT digital transformation, and how to build IT as the change organization of the business?

Communication disconnect: IT drives products, services, customers, line functions, staff functions, IT leaders should be aiming to shape the thing of information within the executive team to allow including an information strategy as the core element of the business strategy and tactical plan. However, the disconnect does exist, and it is caused by miscommunication, or “lost in translation” syndrome, because each functional executive or manager speaks in their own dialect without the common understanding. It is important to speak the common business language, and more critically, the strategic conversation between CIO and other C levels focuses on both top-line business growth and innovation, as well as bottom line business efficiency.  Business transformation needs to start at and be led by the top of the organization. What needs to change and why? Leaders must clearly articulate that message to their organization so managers and employees can actually execute it. If you want employees to implement changes, there must be something in it for them - more time to spend with customers, more training, increased productivity, bonuses, etc. Smart CIOs are talking about the strategic use of technology to meet these concerns and if they are really smart, they are working with other C-Levels in the power base to ensure that technology delivering is aligned and they can show an ROI.

Decision disconnect: The digital shift has come to a change in organizational forms away from the traditional rigid hierarchies managed through command and control to more fluid and responsive network forms. However,  many business managers still apply old silo management mindsets, take overly rigid management practices, and cause decision disconnects, as well as business bureaucracy. It is a good reminder for IT to review and optimize its decision-making scenario and improve processes for the strategy management business cycle. Bridging the gap between IT and the business are really issues of all about change: The steps, processes, tools, and products that organizations use to make decisions and affect the transformation from strategy to deployment. The challenge of IT is getting out of the overly rigid procedures and policies mindset, and shift to “doing more with innovation,” and “designed to change” mentality. It hobbles their ability to think and move as fast as their co "C" level colleagues. The process and policy are still very important to run today’s overly complex IT, however, IT has to be run in a more agile, speedy and flexible way. If information based business insight built is poor or not managed in a proper way, it may lead to wrong decisions and hence impact on the business survival. More critical than ever, business needs IT to provide better information to achieve improved profitability.

Knowledge disconnect: To bridge the disconnect, highly influential IT leaders have to understand the “ three side of the coin”: IT, business, as well as the interaction between IT and business. Modern IT leaders need to be specialized generalists with interdisciplinary knowledge about business and technology. Knowledge is no doubt important but more than that is complete awareness of what is happening in the business context. Once you do that, you use your ability to classify the elements and know their linkage. Then you use your specialized knowledge. Over and above that one has to be practical in relation to the context and not let your absolute knowledge overpower practicality. On the other side, most of the executive peers do not have a deep understanding of technology/process while effective CIOs have to know both the business and the technology side of things and take an advisory role in communication and coaching. You cannot know only one piece of the equation. IT provides a nervous system to the business. Business leaders should also have the desire to understand IT better in order to bridge the knowledge gap and capture business insight for managing a holistic and seamless digital transformation.

Successful business transformation must be partnered with solid communication plans, with comprehensive change /knowledge management discipline. The business speed can only be accelerated with a clear vision, strong focus, mutual trust between business and IT, hyperconnected information flow, decision maturity, and distinctive capabilities, with the business goals to improve customer retention, recurring revenues, new customer acquisition, talent development, and profitable business growth.


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