Thursday, April 6, 2017

Three Aspects to Build IT Credibility

IT faces unprecedented opportunity to refine its reputation, also needs to take more responsibility as a true business partner with great credibility.

Due to increasing speed of change and overwhelming growth of information, IT is only increasing in importance and relevance with each passing day. IT leaders need to reinvent the tarnished IT reputation from a cost center and support desk to become the growth engine of the digital business. Business expects IT to figure out ways to make the business agiler, faster and innovative. CIOs have to overcome the multitude of challenges to maintain and empower such a role via building the good credibility and great reputation as the trusted partner, the business solutionary, as well as the customer champion for improving the overall digital business effectiveness and maturity.

Underpromise, and over-deliver: Many IT organizations suffer from overloaded tasks and overwhelming information, they intend to serve customers better via taking orders and say “YES” to all the requests from business users. Though the attitude is good, the outcome is not always so great, and sometimes the opposite is true; if you overpromise and under-deliver, you could end up committing to projects that you cannot successfully deliver without an additional budget, and lose accountability, and now you bolster a reputation in the company that "IT can't deliver”; or, most of IT projects just try to fix the symptoms, without doing enough to cure the root causes. To gain the respect from the business and build a good reputation as a trustful business partner for the long term, IT should set the right priority, leverage the invaluable resources, get to know “When to say yes,” and “when to say No,” accordingly, practice “under-promise,” and "over-delivery," focus on doing things really matter to the business and customers. When CIOs are able to position and maintain the IT organization with the good credibility to ensure it addresses both "IT effectiveness" and "IT efficiency," to achieve operational excellence, they have earned their stripes.

Continuous improvement and innovation: Besides doing fundamental right, to build the good credibility and reputation, IT needs to move up its maturity from a reactive support function to a proactive game change. The challenge for the IT leader is to set the right priority, manage the limited budget and resource, to “Do more with Innovation,” and making continuous improvement. The digital CIO has to look forward and actively position the business in the right place to take full advantage of opportunities and manage innovation in a structural way. Driving digital transformation is not a passive activity, it is a proactive pursuit. IT-driven digital transformation is the journey of continuous delivery and improvement. Increasing speed of changes and unique challenges become more imperative as IT leaders push the limits of the available technology, also pull resources and talent to figure out a solution to the problem on hand, continuously try to improve/develop/change everything in a prioritized order as long as it creates a more long-term business advantage. 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 and value beyond what any "provider" can deliver, and they can build a good reputation as the trusted business partner.

Running IT from inside-out operation-driven to outside-in customer-centric: Traditional IT organizations often put too much emphasis on measuring things via its own lens, without doing enough to bridge the gap between IT and business, as well as improving customer satisfaction. Digital is the age of customer-centricity. IT has both internal customers and end customers. IT should go out and talk with customers to understand their tastes and current and future need. IT plays a critical role in digitizing the touch point of customer experience and improve customer satisfaction. Deploy a range of technologies that focus purely on improving the customer's experience and perception of business services. Show the customer that you are making the significant investment to deliver the products, services, or solutions which more closely meet their needs. IT is also the information steward of the organization, imagine collecting valuable information about customers in real time and getting that to the right teams inside your company, understand the customers’ need even before they know themselves, and develop the best or next products/services to improve customer satisfaction and business profitability as well. If IT can do all those things right, surely IT can build the good credibility as the digital champion.

To put simply, IT faces unprecedented opportunity to refine its reputation, also needs to take more responsibility as a true business partner. CIOs have to get the transformation agenda right to refine IT reputation, as well as focus on business outcomes. Every IT project is the business initiative, business is no more interested in IT if it continually delivers projects without delivering value. The CIO must be concerned as to whether the operational ecosystem will function as expected, but they also need to become Chief Innovation Officers to run IT as an innovation engine and the digital catalyzer, to make continuous deliveries and build great IT credibility.


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