Wednesday, December 28, 2016

CIOs as “Chief Inquisitive Officer: A set of Q&As (V) for Dealing with IT Management Dilemmas

The digital CIOs need to reimagine IT as the business growth engine and lead changes via inquiries. They have to focus on guiding the company through digital transformation and create unique business value.

Modern CIOs face many challenges, it is not sufficient to only keep the lights on. Regardless of which industry or the nature of organization you are in, being a digital leader will need to master the art of creating unique, differentiating value from piles of commoditized technologies and take advantage of the emergent digital trend as well; digital CIOs also have multiple personas, “Chief Innovation Officer,” “Chief Insight Officer,” “Chief Improvement Officer,” “Chief Information Officer,” and here, we discuss CIOs as “Chief Inquisitive Officer,” with a set of Q&As to lead digital transformation.

Shall IT Lead or Follow: More often than not, technology is the catalyst for driving business change and digital transformation. However, in most of the companies, IT is still perceived as an order taker and support function, and most IT organizations get stuck at the lower level of maturity for functional alignment or enabler. So should IT lead or follow? Should IT leadership rock the boat or just keep it afloat? And how to run digital IT with high speed and agility?

IT Dilemma: Is Customer Always RIGHT: IT has always gone through this dilemma of "customers is always right" vs. "rational approach in designing a solution." If IT always sees this as two conflicting forces pulling in opposite directions, you are most likely to get caught and always fall short of expectations. So what’s the right attitude in the face of such customer dilemma?

Is IT at Cross-Road? IT organizations are facing significant transformation, perhaps crossroad is an appropriate word to articulate IT position since CIOs seem to fall into two camps. The first is the "utility" CIO who competently manages a complex technology infrastructure but is not on the "go to" list for implementing the strategy. The latter is "value" CIO who has delegated infrastructure management and well articulate how information and technology can accomplish the company’s strategic and tactical objectives. So what is next for CIOs beyond the crossroads? How can CIOs enable high performing organizations, and in return, their organizations can leverage high-performing CIOs?

The Two Sides of IT: Which Side is More Important? The forward-looking IT organizations are on the journey of digital transformation. The challenge is having a harmonized vision about overall IT capabilities and maturities, and which role IT should, or can play in the digital organization. There are front end and back end of the IT department. The front end of IT is value-added, to drive the business’s digital transformation, and the back end of the IT is fundamental, operational driven and keep the lights on. From IT management and digital transformation perspective, how to run two sides of IT smoothly, via setting the right principles and developing the next practices?

Which IT Management Dilemmas Do you Encounter? Technology is pervasive, business initiatives, changes, and transformation today nearly always involve some form of technology implementation or information analysis; IT touches both hard business processes and soft human behaviors. However, managing a highly effective IT is not an easy job, IT leaders have to overcome many change management roadblocks and deal with quite a few of IT management dilemmas in transforming from a cost center to value creator, from a support function to a strategic business partner; from a back office to an innovation front yard.

The digital CIOs need to reimagine IT as the business growth engine and lead changes via inquiries. They need to keep asking open-ended questions such as, "Why? Why not? What If?" They have to focus on guiding the company through the digital transformation, and create unique business value because IT is the significant element of any differentiated business capability and the defining factor for competitive advantage.


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