Friday, May 19, 2017

CIOs as Linchpin to Strengthen Digital Transformation

Running IT as a business begins with understanding the true business needs, strengthens the weak links in the organization, and improves the business’s top-line business growth.

At the industrial age, IT is often one of the weakest links in the companies, running in a controller’s mode, slow to change. At the dawn of the digital era, leading businesses across industrial sectors claim they are in the information management business. The highly effective corporations need to embed the power of information in its fiber to weave agility and other business competencies, to ensure it is part of its mechanism and process to improve business responsiveness and decision effectiveness. They also have to leverage the power of the latest digital technologies to improve productivity and efficiency. Hence, CIOs as IT leaders should reinvent IT to strengthen the weakest links and catalyze digital transformation.

Strengthen the leadership links: The CIO is a leadership position. One of the core skills for a modern CIO to be successful is her/his capacity to collaborate with the board and her/his C-level peers and enable them to see the "light,” ignited by information and technology. How does any c-executive direct the creation of a business strategy that is increasingly dependent on technology and, competitive advantages that derive from the technology? As such, the CIO should be a productive member of the top leadership team and provide some active and unique insight and options.  He or she must look into opportunities for the business and then see what IT can do to grow it.When BoD/executive team recognize growth opportunities, the CIO can translate this into an IT-powered business solution that will support the company's vision, in the example to grow market share. The CIO has to become the trusted business partner and the critical link to the business being successful; this requires that you have other C-Levels' support that allows this kind of thought and direction. Businesses can empower their CIOs to voice and contribute more at the strategic level. It is extremely important that CIOs who want to and can work at the strategic board level, need to get the message outside of their own circles so that they can make an influence on organizational, industrial or even national scope and beyond.

Strengthen the links between business and IT: The CIO needs to know how to play a bridge between what businesses understand and what technology understands. CIOs should have great leadership traits, understand business strategy, processes, the latest technologies, and motivate IT team and master of business communication. They would make sure the two worlds meet to ensure an optimal performing business. CIOs are the business executive first, and IT manager the second. CIOs must be able to relay complex technical ideas in a non-technical manner to business leaders. This would then drive products and services for customers at the best possible cost and ensure as high as possible shareholder return on investment. CIOs can provide valuable insight in the form of money saved, revenue from new unexplored business idea etc., at the same time, CIOs should also collect feedback from business upon how to improve IT services & satisfy customers.

Strengthen the link between strategy and execution: CIOs can deliver the ‘competitive capability” to the business as many businesses will plateau without IT. Hence, IT plays a crucial role in strategy management and IT should do more to strengthen the link between strategy and execution via IT strategic planning and capability/process mapping.  However, most IT organizations have not mapped their IT services and systems, or the set of business capabilities to their business processes. Because it is the difficult work and doesn’t produce any immediate tangible results, so it runs counter to the short-term fiscal goals of many organizations. But, to best align mid and long-range strategic IT planning and budgeting with the business, this type of process-capability-strategy implementation mapping is highly useful to strengthen the link between strategy and execution and improve strategy management effectiveness.

High-performance IT organizations see new information technologies as a means to create value for the organization. Running IT as a business begins with understanding the true business needs, strengthens the weak links in the organization, and improves the business’s top-line business growth. So, IT can truly become the digital accelerator, innovator and trusted business partner.


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