Thursday, January 12, 2017

IT Optimizations in the New Year

“Doing more with innovation,” and "Continual improvement" are the IT mantras in the digital era.

Due to the exponential growth of information and change nature of technologies, IT needs to continue to retool itself to keep the digital fit in the new year. Forward-thinking organizations are at the inflection point of the digital transformation, IT is reinventing its tarnished image from a cost center to a digital innovation engine in leading business changes and transformations. How can IT keep tuning its "hard" and "soft" business elements, make continuous improvement via consolidation, integration, optimization, and digitization?

IT Investment optimization: Contemporary businesses invest significantly in IT with the goal to keep the business efficient, also intend to catalyze the future growth of the company. However, most of IT organizations get stuck at the lower level of maturity, being perceived as a cost center and support desk only. So IT leaders need to have the business acumen, try and show how close IT has come to the perceived value that the business has about IT. Often times the business crowd wrongly equate IT solutions with concerns of expensive technical difficulties and the IT crowd builds more out of its own know-how than the need of the business customers. There is miscommunication, thus, there is the need for IT investment optimization, to ensure IT raises the bar on a continual basis to ensure the stakeholders get a real picture of how well the optimization efforts are bearing desired results. IT leaders should act as Chief Investment Officer, to justify business case via fiancé term: doing ROI on IT Investment pre-project initiation; also when the project is completed, look at the actual expenditures and benefits to see if the ROI was actually met. To be a business partner, you have to share the goals and aspirations of your business partners. CIOs need to keep a measure and periodicity at which the measure is reviewed against setting targets, to optimize IT investment and maximize its value.

Cost and process optimization: IT also needs to leverage the latest technologies or tools to continue trimming cost or retooling processes. IT is in a unique position to oversee business processes which underpin organizational capabilities. Business functional leaders need IT to ensure the availability and reliability of their business process automation tools/technology, so their staff can function as efficiently as promised. In fact, many organizations have little insight into their cost structures and who is consuming the assets. They have no idea where they are spending their money on and often assume it is mainly being spent on items which are actually much lower on the list. The CIO’s job is to improve operational excellence via reducing the burden on the company while trying to stay current with ever-changing technologies. The approach is to implement a program that like a gardener would prune the tree or remove the weeds, nurture the valuable solutions and optimize cost.

Customer experience optimization: Digital is the age of customers. Both retaining a customer and winning a new customer are very important to every business’s surviving and thriving. IT has both internal customers and external customers. Optimizing internal customer experience helps to improve employee productivity and engagement; and tooling superior end customer experience directly impacts the business’s sales revenue and growth potential. Hence, IT needs to shift from inside-out operation-driven to outside-in customer-centric. Outside-in view is crucial to look at the the customer experience, and Customer Experience is vital for growth, development and to make sure you stay in business. The customer's experience is about how they encounter, observe, or undergo a company's events or stages. Invariably, the total customer experience is typically comprised of a complex set or series of interrelated processes or steps in which IT can help digitize the touch points or integrate and optimize the business capabilities, with the goal for orchestrating a ‘near-seamless’ experience. Briefly speaking, you have to put the customer at the heart of everything that you do as a business, great Customer Experience Management is a differentiator for companies.

“Doing more with innovation,” and "Continual improvement" are the IT mantras in the digital era. There is never "enough" to optimizing operations and fine tuning differentiated business capabilities. However, the optimization of technology should not be the be-all and end-all at the expense of the health of the overall organization for hurting the long-term business growth. Further, complacency is maligned when it comes to optimizing operations both in terms of cost and efficiency. Hence, strategy management, IT management and change management need to go hand-in-hand for running a high effective, high efficient and high mature digital organization.


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