Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Five Aspects to Run a High-Mature Digital IT Organization

To run a high-mature digital IT organization means that business as a whole has fine-defined objectives, processes, and indicators with clear accountability and responsibility to deliver business objectives.

We live in a technology world and every day more and more technology affects the way we live, think, and work. Great opportunity, danger, and disruption are around every corner. Based on the fact that most of IT organizations still get stuck at the lower level of maturity, IT organization has to move from a reactive order taker and back-office support function to a strategic business partner and game changer. The business goals of IT is about leveraging information and technology to lower costs, improve operations, and increase revenue. The IT leader of the future and the exemplars of today must move away from pure IT manager, and be a trustful business partner as well as an insightful strategist; especially as more and more enterprises are leveraging IT for revenue generating initiatives; what some refer to as IT "is the business." Here are five aspects of running a high mature digital IT organization.

Operation Excellence: The CIO must be concerned as to whether the operational ecosystem will function as expected. IT is the lubricant to a well-designed business system, hence, IT management needs to achieve operational excellence through consolidation, modernization, integration, and optimization. IT should be in the continuous tuning modes for pruning the weeds, streamlining IT processes and tighten coordination and collaboration with the business partners. Many IT organizations suffer from overloaded tasks and overwhelming information, prioritization brings transparency and aligns IT portfolio management with the strategic business goals and objectives. Only keeping the lights on is not sufficient to achieve operational excellence. IT organizations need to focus on value and capability building. Both information and technology become the key ingredient in building business capabilities that differentiate the company from its competition in enabling strategy implementation and supporting the company objectives. Hence, the more important thing is to work on the activities and considerations that need to be addressed to enhance the IT-business relationship and to help organizations become agiler and proactively adapt to the changes, moving up from efficiency, effectiveness to agility; from functioning to firmness to delight.

Product/Service Innovation: CIOs also need to become Chief Innovation Officers to run IT as a digital innovation engine; otherwise, you will become Chiefly Irrelevant Officers. IT can achieve the innovation excellence if IT is regarded as a strategic business partner and given the role in catalyzing innovation and driving the business transformation. There are both incremental innovation and radical innovation. IT is often the driving force for both. To manage innovation in a structural way, you need to frame the creative process and leverage limited resources to keep focus, set time limits, apply varying techniques for managing innovation portfolios in a more productive and sustainable way. The role of the CIO should be able to envision not only where a company believes it is going, but how it will get there, and how it might be missing out on opportunities because of limitations on understanding of disruptive technology and information value. More specifically, the understanding of what information technology can help companies achieve and running IT as an innovation hub.
Performance Dynamic: CIOs are trusted experts who understand a lot about the performance dynamics of the tech sector to be seen as value added participants in conversations regarding the need to increase profit, market penetration, reduce risk, and to increase the velocity/effectiveness of every dollar spent. IT should measure its performance via outside-in business and customer lens, not just inside-out operation lens.  Companies are recognizing that IT is roughly coupled with the business strategy, and it is a very good sign about how the companies will deliver value. Put the framework in place to map the strategic objectives into KPIs and then determine what technology investments will accelerate the changes you want to see in your KPIs. IT executives and departments need to work out how they affect the business output measures, such as "Margin Contribution," "Sales win percentage," "Yield on investment." And what they can do to improve them using the means at their disposal. Once they do that and make a unique, valuable, independent contribution to the business outcomes that they can demonstrate in these terms, they will gain credibility as a strategic business partner. They also have to advocate for "departmental immersion" and other strategies to help IT become more integrated and aware of the organization as a whole.

Customer Experience: IT has two sets of customers. Besides internal customers, end customers should also be IT focal point, CIOs must go out and talk with customers to understand business and understand their tastes and current and future needs. Now technology can improve every touch point in customer intimacy, it provides a significant opportunity for IT to influence customer experience directly. Deploy a range of technologies that focus purely on improving the customer's experience and perception of the business, showing the customer that you are making a significant investment to deliver to them products/services which more closely meet their needs than competitors. And you can enthusiastically present, directly or through marketing, the investments in such technologies to customers and prospects. IT also needs to empower internal customers with efficient digital tools and help them do their work better. And you can enthusiastically present, directly or through marketing, the investments in such technologies to customers and prospects.

Employee Satisfaction: IT talent gap is the reality, not a fiction. And the overall employee engagement/satisfaction rate is very low both in the US and globally. From people management perspective, the challenge is about how to encourage IT professionals stepping out of comfort zone, continue to learn, continue to innovate and update performance management practices by assessing both quantity and quality result. There are many different views on employee engagement and improving employee satisfaction. The very goal is to well align corporate goals with employees’ career goals, encourage talent growth, create synergy by putting the right talent in the right position with the right capability to solve the right problems. Unleashing talent potential is a great human capital investment and business investment, engagement is assured, and excellence in performance is guaranteed when people know their unique gifts are appreciated. It is the time to refine digital talent management in order to adapt to the fast-paced digital business new normal.

To run a high-mature digital IT organization means that business as a whole has fine-defined objectives, processes, and indicators with clear accountability and responsibility to deliver business objectives and implement business strategy steadily. IT becomes a strategic business partner that make a significant impact on the business growth, doing more with innovation and helps the business achieve the high-performance business result for the long term.


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