Friday, February 17, 2017

Is IT Reaching the Inflection Point of Digital Transformation Yet

IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage.

With disruptive digital technologies and fast growth of information, forward-thinking IT organizations are also speeding up for digital transformation, as well as becoming the change agent for the entire company. The emergence of potential opportunities for exploring digitization is likely to follow a nonlinear pattern with exponential speed, as the pervasiveness of an organization's digitization journey increases. So, is IT reaching the inflection point of digital transformation yet, and how to ensure it is in the right direction for improving its effectiveness, responsiveness and maturity?

When IT is perceived as a trusted business partner and solutionary, not just a commoditized IT service provider, it is on the right track for digital shift: IT is the only entity in the organization supposed to understand the business entirely and oversee organizational processes horizontally; IT needs to be able to provide an innovative solution or supply a differentiated approach that contributes to both top line growth and the bottom line success of the organization.What should be focused on is the integration of IT into the business decisions and processes, to bridge IT and business gap. Because the pervasive digitalization or IT consumerism require the balance of “old experience” and “new way to do things,” the “learning and doing.” IT needs to ensure its strategy allowing for digital speed, and agility to be seen by the business as an enabler, not an overhead. IT needs to become the business’s innovation engine, rather than just tools or a support center. Digital means hyperconnectivity, always on business, highly influential (rather than command and control) leadership, greater empowerment of the workers, etc. The digital transformation of IT is reaching the inflection point when IT leaders are invited to the big table and IT is perceived as a trusted business partner and solutionary.

When IT becomes more people centric to delight customers, engage employees and evolve business partners, it is reaching the inflection point for digital transformation: IT must lead in reaching high-level performance. Fundamentally, IT is all about delivering the right information to the right people at the right time to make the right decisions. IT has both internal and external customers.  IT needs to involve the users by giving them active roles on the new business initiative, make them feel important, train them on the new product, appreciate and reward them, and then, IT becomes more business driven, not just technology oriented. IT needs to play the different role to the situation at hand; it's a process that must begin by the CIO (top-down) that forces IT optimization from his/her team to have realistic and reliable information in order to be able to decide. The relationship between the business partners and IT is echoed often, it's not always just the IT and supplier that are working towards a solution. The business is usually involved if it is a business application. Thus, it's not just the customer-supplier engagement model that impacts, but a business-IT engagement model. Only through cohesive IT-business collaboration and process integration, the business strategy can be executed and IT is reaching the inflection point to accelerate performance and expedite digital transformation smoothly.
When IT can demonstrate its performance not from IT lens, but from outside in business and customer perspective, it is reaching the inflection point for speeding up the digital transformation: The traditional IT organizations often focuses on measuring IT relevant throughput to keep the bottom line efficiency. That is not sufficient to brand IT as a digital transformer or innovation engine. Managing stakeholder expectations is key to the success of IT. So depending on which stakeholder and what the role of the CIO is to your organization, metrics can be created that show governance and effectiveness of IT. IT KPIs should be focused on what is relevant to the target audience with a clear purpose as to what is being measured and why. Bottom line ROI and financial analysis are a great way to evaluate a new product or change to an existing IT system. But the various activities needed to manage performance, both strategic and operational  plans, innovation measurement, as well as day-to-day decision and delivery. IT is reaching the inflection point of digital transformation when IT can demonstrate its performance and value which make a significant impact on the business’s top line growth; and IT measures cover all areas that contribute to value creation including products/services quality, employee engagement, customer satisfaction and IT investment outcomes. So, IT is no longer just a cost center, but a revenue generator.

IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. IT is at the inflection point for digital transformation when IT leaders are fluent both business and IT conversations with digital acumen, IT is not just “Doing more with less,” but “Doing more with innovation;” and IT is perceived as the true business partner to build differentiated business advantage.


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