Saturday, May 6, 2017

Is IT a Building Block or a Roadblock of Digital Transformation

IT is the building block when business-IT gaps are shrinking, and it would be the roadblock if the gaps are enlarging.

Nowadays technologies make impacts on every vertical industry sector and information permeates into every corner of the organization. IT is becoming more critical strategically, and the building blocks of the business competency. But still, there are discrepancies between how IT evaluates its own influence & performance and how IT is perceived by business partners and customers. Sometimes, business partners think IT is lagging behind the change curve, and they see IT as a drag on innovation. Even IT should be the irreplaceable building block of differentiated organizational capabilities, businesses perceive IT as the roadblock. So, how can IT turn around these negative perceptions and build a strong reputation as a change agent, innovation engine and driving force of digital transformation?

IT is the building block when IT is the threshold of business capability; IT is the roadblock when it is over-promise and under-delivery: The role of digital IT is to identify and blend the ways that information and technology can enable and shape business capabilities and capacities by linking all digital aspects (goals, objectives, actions, etc.) together to enforce business competencies. These are then mixed with other business ingredients (process, people, culture) to create products and solutions which generate differentiated business capabilities for strategy management and the business’s long-term growth. Organizations acquire differentiated capabilities to reshape products, services, and customer engagement, with the help of digital technologies. IT is no doubt the building block when IT-enabled business competency delivers higher-than-expected business results and accelerates the speed of digital transformation. However, if IT only takes orders from the business, over-promised and under-delivery, IT is seen as the roadblock which drags down the speed of business changes. Those negative IT perceptions by customers shouldn’t be ignored by senior IT management, they need to clarify IT vision, convey a clear message about IT value proposition, gain the seat at the big table to co-create the business strategy, realign their operation model from insight out operation driven to outside in customer focused, setting prioritization mechanism to map strategic goals, also ensure that customer preferences and requirements are reflected throughout the organization, which will benefit the business in terms to speed up changes and accelerate products/services deliveries.

IT is the building block of business capabilities when business-IT gaps are shrinking, and it would be the roadblock if the gaps are enlarging: The disconnect between business and IT not only causes miscommunication but even worse to decelerate the business change and fail the business to achieve the strategy. Bridging the gap between IT and the business are really issues of all about change, the steps, processes, tools, and products that organizations use to make decisions and affect the digital transformation from strategy to deployment. To bridge the gap, you cannot know only one piece of the equation, IT leaders have to know both the business and the technology side of things and take an advisory role in communication and coaching. It is important to listen, engage and nurture relationships with customers and build an integrated view of business insight derived from information extracted via different sources. Business leaders should also have the desire to understand IT better in order to bridge the knowledge gap and capture business insight for managing a holistic and seamless digital transformation. Running IT as the building block is not just about fixing things, but leveraging tradeoff, integrating IT and business to build a set of crucial business capabilities such as efficiency, flexibility, agility, risk intelligence, and ultimate organizational agility.

IT is the building block of business capabilities if IT can become the business solutionary; IT perhaps turns out to be the roadblock if it does not “keep the end” - the strategic business goals in mind: In most of the organizations, IT is setting back and waiting for the request, and no wonder often being perceived as a roadblock; to be the building block of changeability, IT needs to gain a better understanding of the business and show that knowledge by talking business to the business; IT has to be configured in a way to understand the business and set the framework to deliver the business and market needs. IT needs to transform from an order taker to an order shaker. IT has to be a strategic advisor to the business to maximize the revenue. IT at all levels needs to understand how the business makes and loses money, and it needs to articulate solutions around this with business language. IT is being not only analytically measured by the business, but it is also being measured by every customer experience the leadership of the business has with IT deliveries they experienced. That sets a very high standard that internal IT is either a roadblock to slow down the changes or the building block to accelerate digital transformation.

The idea that the IT organization is perceived as the roadblock, overlooked as an innovation driver and is being bypassed by business units comes at an odd time when you consider the robust new technology prospects and pervasive information influence. IT needs to be the building block to develop dynamic digital capabilities and gain the differentiated advantage for the organization’s growth and maturity.


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