Friday, December 16, 2016

Improving Digital Acumen of IT Organization

IT can weave all necessary business elements, either hard or soft, to orchestrate a digital symphony.

Digital transformation is not just about using the latest technology gadgets, tools or building the fancy website. Raising the organization’s digital consciousness is the way that companies leverage digital technologies and channels to meet customer needs as well as the needs of employees and business partners. It often has to shape the collective digital mindsets and brings enriched digital insight; it also needs to optimize underlying business functionality to build high-level digital capabilities. IT plays a pivotal role in such a paradigm shift, so how to improve the digital acumen of IT organizations?

IT plays a forerunning role in digital transformation: Growing digital entails more than merely adopting the latest tools or having a large IT budget; it is about integrating technology into the way a company plans, innovates, operates, measures results, interacts with customers engages employees, and ultimately creates differentiated business competency. So improving digital acumen means more than a technology upgrade; it requires significant changes in leadership thinking and corporate culture. Chief information officers (CIOs) are uniquely positioned to lead their organizations in the complex work of digital shift via building a comprehensive set of enterprise-wide information management capability to enable better information management by breaking down the silos, reducing costs and increasing efficiency, and improving IT engagement with the business. Laggard companies often have a CXO team or a board of directors who are comfortable doing things the old way and view IT as purely a support organization. It's very tough for the CIO to drive transformation if that is the case. And IT still runs in industrial speed in those organizations. Digital IT needs to be running at a much faster speed. The focus is to gain digital acumen, provide business capabilities (both necessities and competencies), and build business competency.

If IT is supporting the business goals, it will help the company win business: There should also be a strong interaction between operations leaders and IT leaders and their teams with feedback mechanisms and willingness to find solutions that can support both the business need and build any ROI required to justify the business case. Make sure the executive team first understands what it needs to drive future business growth, also 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. Companies are recognizing that IT is roughly coupled to the business strategy, and it is a very good sign about how the companies will deliver value. That could mean helping the business to implement products and solutions at a lower cost so that the business is able to efficiently utilize limited capital for bringing more products and services to the market; that could also mean creating efficiency in the processes so the business can compete in terms of offering better products or services faster than competitors. Further, IT can manage information to capture business foresight and customer insight for bringing the business growth opportunities as well.

Businesses are looking for IT to introduce new practices for innovation management: Businesses are looking for IT to add new innovative methods for management of complexity, business transformation, improving quality, or optimizing business capabilities, etc. Digital is the age of options, it provides the opportunity to think the new way to do things, so it forces IT leaders to get really creative on how they architect and implement change, to ensuring IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next. IT shifts to be more “I” focus: Information, Intelligence, Innovation, Integration, Improvement, Interface, the numerous perceptions of IT guiding the business towards the right direction and to deliver services or solutions that address concerns for TCO. IT can keep business areas up to date with the opportunities emerging technology provides. It is important to foster a culture of innovation, create innovative IT-enabled business models and business capabilities through a combination of existing and emerging technologies. Deliver the innovative capabilities to capture first-mover advantages.

IT plays an important role in interpreting business issues into a technology solution, also, leverage necessary resources to solve them. And more broadly, IT can weave all necessary business elements, either hard or soft, to orchestrate a digital symphony. The organization's digital acumen is dependent on how smart it can process and leverage information in decision-making; how responsive it can adapt to the exponentially increasing speed of changes; how well it can delight customers and how its employees feel engaged, and how capable it can drive the business's digital transformation in a seamless way.


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