Sunday, December 11, 2016

Running a People-Centric IT Organization

Digital is the age of people and options, it provides the opportunity to think the new way to do things.

Traditional IT organizations are often inside-out operation-driven, mechanical and monolithic; nowadays with increasing speed of change and lightweight digital technologies and services, digital IT needs to be run as a people-centric organization to enchant customers, empower employees, evolve business partners, invite all sorts of business partners for feedback, and ensure the right people getting the right information at the right time to make the right decisions. To put simply, IT is the people-centric organization.

IT and customer alignment: Traditional IT organizations focus on IT and business alignment, digital IT goes a step further and moves up to IT and business integration as well as IT and customer alignment. Since the biggest challenge to business success is IT and IT's biggest challenge is understanding the business and customers’ expectations. Engaging and empowering your end user is vital. Technology is being leveraged every day to digitize the touch point and enhance the customer experience with or without the use cases from an IT department. Particularly as the business has become more tech-savvy, and as such, aware of their power to demand what they want, when and how they want it. In reality, if the IT department does not have the time, resources or authority to develop and deploy these initiatives, they will not be brought to the big table as a business partner or customer champion. Customer experience "responsibility shouldn’t be just left to the business. IT will need to develop business skills to properly vet out services for a particular use case, otherwise, the other business functions can develop specific IT skills to do it themselves. Perhaps it is time to "align IT to the customer" rather than "align IT with the business" to put one ahead of the change curve and look to leverage the amazing digital customers drive.

Filling IT talent gap: IT talent gap is a reality. IT is transforming and moving to reach higher maturity at the digital age, IT talent needs to have both technical and business skills, it should take a preponderant importance in the coming years to make sustainable IT- business relationship and build a people-centric organization. There are many challenges such as out-of-date talent recruiting practices or management, or the strategic imperative to update talent competency model. There's misunderstanding or miscommunication (lost in translation) in between IT talent request and searching mechanism. Also, there's the disconnect between IT short-term staff needs and long term talent perspectives. From the IT talent management perspective, how to build a culture of creativity, encourage IT professionals to step out of comfort zone, continue to learn, continue to innovate, and update performance management practices by assessing both quantity and quality result objectively. IT knowledge life cycle has been shortened due to the changing nature of technology. Thus, when assessing talent, more dynamic and balanced approaches are needed to assess learning agility - a person's ability to learn quickly and adapt prior knowledge to new experiences. Whether IT can attract the brightest talent or not also depends on how effective the CIO is branding his/her organization as a contributor to the corporation and society as a whole.

Building a strong IT, business, and vendor partnership: Due to the complex nature of technology and overwhelming information, IT has to build up the strong partnership, to not just provide the standardized services, but do more with innovation. The next generation of IT vendor relationship is about how to well manage the mixed bag of diversified vendors, multi-faceted partnerships, co-ownership of ventures and companies, contracting, etc. The biggest leap is expecting the partnership to modernize the business model or finding ways to make technical operations more efficient. IT also expects vendors to deliver flexible, innovative and high-quality customer-tailored solutions. So the proper structure can be taken in place, including modules that related to each other between the organization, groups, project teams, and knowledge worker; vendors can also be instructed to take extra miles, present their innovation capabilities properly. Their expertise is not the solely technical specialty, but business acumen. More importantly, they can also deliver the outside box thinking and expansive talent pool, culture wisdom and process innovation. The disruption of IT will continue. The business functions will have more resources, time, and energy to solve business problems. Thus, IT needs to build a solid partnership with the business and vendors, run in a very entrepreneur fashion to solve business problems effectively.

Digital is the age of people and options, it provides the opportunity to think the new way to do things, so it forces IT leaders to get really creative in how they architect and implement change, to ensuring IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next while, at the same time, be people-centric, to engage employees and delight customers.


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