Saturday, April 15, 2017

The New Book “Digital IT - 100 Q&As” Chapter IV Digital IT Management Dilemmas Q&As

The wisdom and ultimate goals of innovative CIOs are to help organizations think clearly about the two horizons of future, the short-term gain and the long-term win.

Nowadays technology is pervasive and the information is overwhelming, business initiatives, changes, and transformation today nearly always involve some form of technology implementation. IT touches both hard business processes and soft human behaviors. Managing a highly effective IT is not an easy job, IT leaders have to overcome many change management roadblocks and deal with quite a few of IT management dilemmas in transforming IT from a cost center to value creator; from a support function to a strategic business partner; from a back office to an innovation front yard.

Why is IT so reluctant to look at itself? IT is the core to most parts of the business and must, therefore, be visible and present. It’s very important for contemporary organizations to continually do “self-reflection” upon the business effectiveness, process efficiency, strength and risks, culture, and brand, etc. However, self-evaluation is tough for both IT or any function due to ego, culture, process, budget, and other management issues. Often it is so much easier to look at what someone else may need to change than to look inward. People all like positive feedback but negative criticism is sometimes harder to take. The majority of IT organizations indeed seek opportunities to improve itself. Reality dictates that IT can take advantage of opportunities available by working on other corporate projects. The CIO role has never been about just managing the status quo, so the digital shift for IT is to be innovative with systems of engagement. All these need to be effective to have mature IT-business integration, IT-customer alignment, and that organization with higher and stronger maturity outperforms organizations with lower maturity.

Why has IT been perceived as the “weakest link”? There is the perception gap between IT looks at itself and the business perceives IT. IT is often seen itself as a business enabler and change agent, but businesses often think that IT is slower to change and even be one of the “weakest links” for the business transformation. With the age of IT consumerization, these are the days of business users becoming more tech savvy. Without collaborative communication, businesses go around IT for new technology. This is always a sign that something is not going right, and business reliability gets compromised. Further, many organizations are not foresightful to empower their IT leaders or lack of in-depth understanding of IT responsibility, technology complexity, and the paradox of IT management - to both set up the standard and enable innovation. To strengthen IT or any business link, organizations should shift from inside-out operation driven to outside-in customer centric. The digital revolution means that channels to customers, links with business capability, and even efficiency of the workforce critically depends on the information enabled by IT. Back to fundamental, IT is not the weakest link in the organization, it’s people. To reinvent IT, it’s not about controlling, but taking more resource to do innovation, not just IT innovation, but business innovation and make a leap of digital transformation.

The two sides of IT: Which side is more important? The forward-looking IT organizations are on the journey of digital transformation. There are front end and back end of the IT department. The front end of IT is value-added, to drive the business’s digital transformation; and the back end of the IT is fundamental, operational driven and keep the lights on. The front end of IT is the portion that helps with the business growth and provides customer-centric solutions. It’s about how IT can bring back the scientific discipline and continuous effort that people used to trust. In order to integrate technology with strategy, information executives have to be fully aligned with the business executives in articulating a business strategy, and apply the technology to ensure achievement and execution, and “doing more with innovation.”  The back end of IT is fundamental to improve business efficiency via “keeping the lights on,” and streamlining business processes. Most of the businesses executive have no idea how complicated corporate technology is, they don’t have to understand how complex IT system is. Though the back side seems to make IT invisible and humble, it also reflects the density, intensity, and intelligence of technology. IT leaders need to get both sides of IT right and communicate the value and potential of their organizations. ITshoulds be integral to and knowledgeable of the business, aligned with enterprise objectives, as an enabler, facilitator, and game changer.

In order to deal with those inevitable IT management dilemmas smoothly, IT leaders need to be bold enough to drive through a clear vision, determined enough to adapt to changes, persistent enough to stick to the set of core principles, and creative enough to explore the new possibilities. The wisdom and ultimate goals of innovative CIOs are to help organizations think clearly about the two horizons of future, the short-term gain and the long-term win.

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Chapter 1 Digital IT Leadership Q&A

Chapter 2 Digital IT Fitness Q&A

Chapter 3 Digital IT Innovation Paradox Q&As

Chapter 4 Digital IT Management Dilemmas

Chapter 5 Digital IT Potential Q&As

Chapter 6 Digital IT Priority Q&As

Chapter 7 IT-Business Gap Q&As

Chapter 8 Digital IT Performance Q&As

Chapter 9 IT Branding Q&As

Chapter 10: Digital IT Talent Management Q&As


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