Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Are you Running IT Organization as a “Magic” or a Trendsetter?

IT has to provide both business and technical insight into how they bring success to the company as a whole transparently, holistically, and continually.

IT plays a critical role in modern businesses today, however, most business leaders and professionals lack the in-depth understanding of IT organizations, often time, the “magic” thinking of IT is one of the root causes to divide business and IT and create gaps for the digital transformation. In practice, digital IT organization needs to become an integral part of the high mature digital company, to gain competitive advantage or differentiated capability for the business’s growth. To improve IT maturity, CIOs should ask themselves: Are you running IT organization as a “Magic,” or a “trendsetter”?

Using the word 'magic' to describe what IT does is not so constructive to IT transparency and progress: When IT think they are the “magic,” they perhaps lost the opportunity to become the true business partner for gaining trust and understanding.  As a matter of fact, for most of the business executives, IT is just like a costly “magic” they know little about, that's why they don't trust it so much. Often they just treat IT as a cost center or support desk and put very little effort to know IT better. From the IT management perspective, magic sounds like there was little effort, it just happened. It provides no additional understanding, so IT just lose the opportunity to toot its horn the “right way,” and actually undermine how much intelligence/experience/skill was required for running a high-performance IT and solve the over-complex business issues nowadays. Therefore, it’s important for IT and business to get knowing each other better, the business is held to the same standard to prove the benefit of their IT investment as the IT department is held for justifying their cost. When the CIO takes the time to explain every component of IT costs and justify each and then the business is forced to do the same, things change, IT is no longer just a mysterious function which sucks a lot of money or resource, but a transparent powerhouse to play its digital magic in a collaborative way.

IT is a trendsetter for developing and amplifying next digital practices across the organization: If “IT magic” has certain negative connotation, and then imagination is the right word to convey the sound message on why business executives should learn more about IT, to reimagine the new possibilities for catalyzing business growth or harnessing innovation, to unleash the full business potential. Historically, technology indeed stimulates mankind's imagination, to make the impossible possible. The exponential growth of information also brings new opportunities for companies to capture business insight or forecast customers’ demands. Thus, by promoting IT knowledge and insight, IT can really become a business trendsetter, rather than just an order taker. Forward-looking IT organizations have become the “Change Agent” and “Capability Builder” of their company, they set digital principles, develop the best and next digital practices to drive changes and scale them up to the enterprise scope while business executives would appreciate the opportunities to re-imagine growth opportunities via learning more about IT. IT enables all critical business processes, which underpin business capabilities in enabling such transformation. IT as a business enabler and catalyzer should achieve the ability to capture the latest digital technology trends for catalyzing business innovation. IT will also request their partners to do the same.

It’s important to engage business executives to inquire and push transparency button: The hyperconnectivity nature of digital makes everything so transparent, digital organizations today are always on and always connected, and business reputation and brand are based on those interconnected elements from process and technology to leadership and employees. However, many IT management teams are still equipped with silo mentality and running IT in the dark with puzzles about value, cost, risks, constraints, other business executives may not feel they are part of it. Part of such IT “illiteracy,” is exactly what drives their own frustrations with IT but an “unwillingness” to acknowledge it. Digital technology makes the world more open and transparent than ever,  IT should actually love the transparency; it makes IT stronger and better at what it does and be perceived as change/innovation agent. Business executives' learning appetite to push the transparency button will keep the other C-Levels apprised of the information assets. Information requirements and associated tooling are for the company and what new trends in information are going to impact the company how significantly.

Digital IT is trending towards becoming 'service' elastic and on-demand which moves faster, more flexible, and more resilient, IT is a trendsetter for leading digital transformation. IT is encouraging business peers to understand its magic behind the scene. First, understand IT, then, advocate IT in order to improve overall organizational maturity, with a good attitude to cultivate the culture of learning and innovation. IT has to provide both business and technical insight into how they bring success to the company as a whole transparently, holistically and continually.


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