Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How to Run Digital IT as a Revenue Rain Maker

The payoff of IT digital transformation is not just for the quick win, but to build the long-term business competency.

Traditional IT organizations are perceived as the cost center, running in an inside-out operation driven mode. Nowadays, with the exponential growth of information and lightweight digital technologies, forward-looking organizations across industrial sectors claim they are in the information management business, and there is a high expectation of IT to drive changes and lead the digital transformation. Therefore, the invisible divide IT vs. Business needs to go away, and CIOs should market themselves and advocate IT as an integrated component of the company, in order to run IT as an innovation engine and revenue generator for the business. CIOs must set priority right and have an IT transformation checklist on how to answer questions such as: How do we get revenues now? How will we do it in the future? How should IT help the company win businesses? How can IT contribute to customer acquisition and retention? And how to run digital IT as a revenue rainmaker?

IT can become known as a revenue rainmaker by associating its efforts directly with sources of income: IT needs a shift from inside-out operation driven to outside-in customer-centric. You are able to spot opportunities to increase revenues. IT has two sets of customers, internal business users as well as external end customers. IT needs to provide efficient platforms and tools to improve productivity and efficiency of internal customers; but more importantly, these days, looking for solutions that will directly benefit the external end customer will improve the competitive advantage and in-turn bring in increased revenue. Business people with revenue-enhancement projects often don't request IT projects to support them because they don't know what IT can do. CIOs have to communicate with the business to find these projects and then talk with the business managers responsible for them about what could be done. CIOs should also work with the business on plugging revenue leakages, business unit managers need back to back KPIs with CIOs on applications/service deliveries, so the organization sees "oneness," is superior to the sum of pieces.

IT entrepreneurialism is about running IT as a business: IT entrepreneurialism becomes a new fixture for management in their efforts to substantiate their competitive position, affect the market landscape, and drive new revenue growth. The IT organization should provide guidance, support, assistance and direction in the application and adoption of information technology solutions enabling business objectives! The first thing is to stop calling IT initiative, profits and ROIs should be the driving force behind any IT project. IT projects should be called a business project with a clear objective, business justification, and full alignment with the overall company’s objectives, otherwise, they do not exist. Like any other business initiative from another part of the company, developing a compelling strategic business case is especially critical when an initiative is difficult to monetize. That is, attach believable dollar values to identified benefits flows.

Make sure the executive team first understands what it needs to drive future business growth and revenue growth: CIOs will contribute to revenue generation when they are part of the senior executives' team responsible for the strategy making and revenue targets. Companies are recognizing that IT is roughly coupled with the business strategy, and it is a very good sign about how the companies will deliver value. CIOs have to be an integral part of the top leadership team for driving business value, bringing technology vision in strategy making, envisioning the future product strategy or any others. IT leaders have to be hand-in-glove with the business executives to map out the vision, fully aligned with the business executives in articulating the business strategy. Put the framework in place to map the strategic objectives into KPIs and then determine what technology investments will accelerate the changes you want to see in your KPIs. Launch innovative delivery channels for improving sales revenues and ultimately net profit.

Let revenue generation or profit increase become the focus vs. cost savings/ optimization. The payoff of IT digital transformation is not just for the quick win, but to build the long-term business competency. In this regard, the focus of digital IT organizations should gain more strength as a revenue rainmaker.


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