Tuesday, June 27, 2017

CIOs as “Chief Interaction Officer”: How to Enforce Communications and Reinvent IT Reputation

It is strategic imperative to re-invent IT reputation from an isolated support function to a business growth catalyzer via communication, collaboration, and innovation. ]

Digital organizations today become over-complex and hyper-connected with increasing speed of changes. The geographical borders, functional borders, business borders, as well as industrial borders have blurred to a certain degree. Therefore, the business leaders today have to break down silos, to run the company holistically. The CIO and all senior leadership positions have to deal with the level of complexity to “leverage its fundamental forces to have a positive impact” in hyper-competitive, and interdependent digital economy. CIOs as “Chief Interaction Officer”: How to enforce communication and reinvent IT reputation?

Develop peer to peer executive relationships: The exponential growth of the “digital transformation” opportunities is creating new innovation opportunities for the business. The business must begin to see IT as an integral part of the business and not just as a controller or an enabler, but a catalyzer and even a digital game changer. CIOs should be able to look ahead and the relevance of certain trends in its industry may indicate, convey their technological vision to the business audience, and build IT reputation as the trustful business advisor. As more innovation is powered by IT, It is not just the corporate boards, the variety of industrial studies show that the C-suite is hungry for the CIO to step up with their insight of the business and technological expertise. Information and insight are just two of the reasons for CIOs being at the big table. CIOs today should have both the business acumen and in-depth knowledge of IT to co-develop the business strategy. IT leaders should build peer to peer executive relationships, experiments more creative common language to communicate, in order to bridge the gap between business talks and IT talks via using the common business language and they are responsible for making sure that the IT meets the business requirements, works as the strategic partner of the business and makes the continuous delivery with faster speed.

Practice audience tailored communications: There are multi-layer relationships CIOs need to manage to run a high-performance digital IT, such as business peer/shareholder relationship, customer relationship, vendor relationship., etc. A CIO that can communicate effectively with all levels of the organization, has a solid grasp of the business goals and objectives and can interpret them into an IT strategy as well as mapping into IT management practice without “lost in translation.” Therefore, either performing communications or providing business solutions, IT leaders should target different audiences, tailor the special customer needs in order to build up the long-term empathic business relationship. Many niche CIOs really focus on leading from the standpoint of addressing key issues in their organizations being faced at that moment in time. Traditional IT often acted as a controller, but to move up the maturity, IT needs to overcome the application sprawling challenge facing at the age of cloud, transform “shallow IT” into deputized IT. IT needs to forge a mature adult relationship with business users, since today’s multi-generational knowledge workforce overall are more savvy about the wide range of technology, and they want to have the same powerful and convenient digital technologies in the working environment as for personal usage.

The touchy-feely chatting with customers: To move up the organizational maturity, IT needs to shift from inside-out, operation-driven to outside-in customer-centric. For all the customer-centric industries and businesses today, how to delight the customer is a strategic imperative, IT has two set of customers, the internal users as well as the end business customers. IT leaders and the teams, thus, need some touchy-feely chatting with the end customers or walk through the customer’s experience, to bring up the outside-in point of view. CIOs also need to take end customers’ shoes on or experiment at the frontline to walk through customers experience and collect customers’ feedback periodically. Because IT is in the unique position to digitize the touch point of customer experiences via tuning the underlying business functions and process and help to provide customers the freedom of choice at each touch point, to make the customer experience as seamless and impressive as possible.

It is strategic imperative to re-invent IT reputation from an isolated support function to a business growth catalyzer via communication, collaboration, and innovation. The peer to peer IT-business partnership is of course built over time, IT leaders have to be able to demonstrate in very tangible ways that IT understands business, and, fortunately, there are ways for doing so. The ultimate goal to run a digital organization is to ensure the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces, IT is the business, and every business across the industrial sectors are in the information management business as well.


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