Tuesday, January 3, 2017

What're the Digital CIO’s New Year Reflection and Resolution

IT needs to leverage technological vision and provides guidance for the organization’s future growth.

Due to the changing nature of technology and exponential growth of information, IT organization is always on the hot seat, with the pressure to adapt - Doing more with innovation. IT enables the business and supports the applications its customers use to not just transact, but transform business. Besides, as a Chief Information Officer, the CIO today is Chief Influence Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, and Chief Insight Officer, who has to continue to lead IT transformation in a proactive, inquisitive, and progressive way. So what’re the digital CIO’s New Year reflection and resolution?

Q1 Does IT provide guidances for the organization’s future? And how to make a set of digital principles to run a high mature IT organization?  IT is in a unique position to oversee the underneath functions and processes of the entire organization; IT is like the “super-glue” to integrate all hard and soft business elements into necessary and differentiated business capabilities and competencies. Nowadays, all forward-looking organizations declare they are in the information management business, because information is the lifeblood of the business, and technology is often the disruptive force of digital innovation and transformation. Hence, IT also needs to leverage technological vision and provides guidance for the organization’s future growth. The guiding PRINCIPLEs should cover the customer, people, and quality from a holistic business perspective. The guiding principle is like the light tower, navigates the business toward the right direction and speed up the organization to the well-planned journey of the digital transformation. Though it’s not easy for a set of principles defined that can be applied holistically. Their content sometimes contains natural conflict, without a method of prioritizing and implementing them consistently, they become a source of contention. Hence, business/IT leaders have to articulate which principle is applicable in which situation. A well-defined set of IT management principles would guide decision making, bridge IT-business gaps, do more with innovation, measure right things before measuring it right. Keep in mind, principles are guidelines, not rigid rules, there needs to be a pragmatic way of applying whatever principles to the problem in a consistent manner, with the goal to achieve strategic goals and guide daily business activities effectively.

Q2 Is IT provocative: Does IT stretch, challenge, or interrupt the status quo? The CIO role has never been about just managing the status quo. Digital is the age of innovation. The main barriers to innovation are silos, rigidity, inflexibility, static mindset, or bureaucracy, etc. The available technology just makes innovation easier to do now than in the past, more powerful, less costly, more easily accessible, thanks to the "lightweight' digital technologies and mosaic style of the on-demand service model. IT needs to set the priority right via proactively solving business problems, not just overcoming technical challenges. IT has to proactively work as an integral part of the business to capitalize on opportunity via leading the digital transformation. IT organizations today have to become highly responsive, dynamic, and hyperconnected. IT needs to be a proactive business problem solver to gain a sense of achievement. It is also important to build a scalable idea management which means for sharing and managing ideas throughout the enterprise, even across silos and geographies. A high-mature IT organization is high-effective, high-intelligent, and high-innovative.

Q3 Is IT desired? Does IT help the business from the customer's perspective?  IT should facilitate the business partners to the right solutions and help to implement them. If the CIO isn't tied in closely to different business functions, and run in the silo, IT is still in lower maturity. IT shouldn’t always look at itself from inside out via IT lens, but via outside-in customer viewpoint, to ensure the daily task helps the business build the competency for delighting both internal and external customers and improving the business agility and maturity. Often, IT suffers from overload, lack of resource, and talent shortage, and managing IT delivery including supporting process development projects in other parts of the company and sometimes no time left selling the idea about investing in their own processes. As daily practices, IT needs to be proactively planning, not justing taking the order, but working closely with internal customers to improve the overall business operation from a holistic business perspective. Fundamentally redesign IT role and culture as a co-creator of top line value, growth, and profitability.

Q4 Is IT in a high-involvement process? Does IT expand the zone of possible change and development? Digital CIOs can have a sense of achievement by running IT as a business; by people and for the people, to be future driven and digital ready; making IT integrated into the company while avoiding making it a separate "stand alone" department. When there is no willingness to serve users and on the other way round, no appetite from users to involve IT, the gaps get bigger and dangerous behaviors may get introduced. The CIO is required to think about the business first, technology second. CIOs need to be the digital visionaries derive the most value out of the technology investments by translating the promise of technology to strategic and competitive advantage for the company. Technology is one of the tools the CIO uses to help move the business in the direction of meeting its strategic objectives. This strategic focus is all the more important in the current environment where technological advances happen at a rapid face. The type of speed issues, such as IT slow to change comes from gaps created between IT and the rest of the company. So digital IT has to not only improve its own speed, but also the overall organizational agility and maturity.

Q5 Does IT have a positive and bold message and brand? The business goal for IT branding is to have all (if possible) business audiences at every level of enterprise weighed-in with delight. Identify the key messages you want to convey to each of these different stakeholder groups. This is your brand. So it is urgent to know exactly what image you intend to convey, create a comprehensive list of the IT organization’s strengths, weaknesses, goals, and objectives. For successful IT branding, basically you are asking yourself: What are you trying to accomplish? Are you on the right path? What do you aspire to achieve? Is “what you look” consistent upon “who you are”? There are best practices and next practices to create and reinforce IT brand, to promote innovation and create new knowledge and build the great IT reputation with freshness and innovativeness.

The New Year comes with the new inspiration. CIOs as “Chief Inspiration Officer” need to convey the vision clearly and get ready for changes. To put simply, an IT organization with high-maturity not only adapts to the changes but drives digital transformation in their company, IT is an enabler and catalyzer for the business to reach the era of radical digital and the next level of digital maturity.


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