Friday, June 2, 2017

Running IT to Improve Business Plasticity

The business plasticity is based on responsiveness, changeability, and innovation.

The neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to rewire, connect, and adapt; the business plasticity is the organization’s capability to change, adapt and innovate. This is particularly important in the digital age due to the “VUCA” business new normal. Digital transformation is inevitable, opportunities and risks co-exist - roadblocks, pitfalls, and disruptions are around every corner. Nowadays, IT is like the “digital brain” of the organization, it has to be able to connect, change, and adapt to the dynamic business environment. It is the CIO's job to discern the difference and make a business case and run a digital IT organization to improve business plasticity and accelerate digital innovation.

High responsiveness to manage changes: The biggest challenge for companies today is to identify both opportunities for the business growth as well as risks which cause the business to fail, and be highly responsive to the fast-changing business environment. The biggest IT challenge is the pace at which the IT executive's responsibility for business operations, efficiency, effectiveness, changeability, and continuity is outpacing his or her authority to make those areas a success. Can the current IT system handle a shock in the business tomorrow? The shock could be both positive and negative, such as strategic business transaction, a new large customer, new vendor relationships, loss of business and need to scale up or down. The business and IT are inextricably linked in the hyperconnected digital era, they need to work in concert together to improve the business plasticity. Hence, bridging the gap between IT and the business is the issue of change, because the disconnect between business and IT not only causes miscommunication but even worse to fail the business. Technology can be efficiency driven, or it can be disruptive - changing the industry. Digital IT should be able to orchestrate processes, tools, and people that organizations use to effect the transformation from strategy to deployment. An IT led digital paradigm shift is a proactive approach that allows for planning and supportive considerations to be made and, therefore, it is much more likely to turn into a smooth and successful collaborative transition and improve the business plasticity.

IT adaptability to deal with uncertainty: Organizations today face unprecedented uncertainty due to the increasing speed of changes and overwhelming growth of information. Hence, companies must build adaptability to rewire itself when necessary to fit the circumstances. As digital strategy management is no longer about taking linear steps, it's an iterative business continuum. IT should be like the digital hub to enable the business connecting the wide dots, get integral to and knowledgeable of the business, aligned to enterprise objectives, and of course, fully competent to provide on-going business competency and tactical execution. CIOs need to deal with uncertainty, constant ambiguity, they naturally gravitate to a leadership role when things are unknown, things will change, technology is involved, a tough problem has to be solved, etc.  So the digital IT leaders need to capture business insight and develop all necessary skills, to understand the company’s business model, industry, go to market approach, and business vision to enable company strategy with business solution deliverable. Further, digital transformation takes a holistic approach. Too often transformational change is acted on the basis of improving one part of an organization at the expense of other parts of the organization, the main reason is that up to this point in time most leaders have been silo managers and don't really have the business skills or personality traits to lead change and transformation.

Innovation as a strategic ongoing business capability: Digitalization disrupts not only the functional or the business boundary but also industry and geographical territories. Today’s organization is an organic living thing thriving at the expanded business ecosystem. Improving business plasticity in this regard means that organizations can connect the dots freely cross the business ecosystem to trigger creativity and accelerate innovation. The organizational content is the innovation capability which is how does the organization innovate. Innovative organizations deploy a range of different management, technology, process, and structural solutions, to continuously rewire themselves for building an effective 'innovation system' that is capable of supporting both widespread incremental innovation in products/services and ways of working as well as the rarer 'step-change' innovation. The art of possible is achieved via building innovation capabilities because breakthroughs and transformational innovations are not something every business can accomplish, you have to increase business plasticity, and systematically develop and sharpen those abilities which cannot be built overnight. Innovation ecosystem or the methodological environment should cover the whole innovation process, from processes in managing ideas or idea handling systems to idea implementation and promotion.

The business plasticity is based on responsiveness, changeability, and innovation. Digital fitness is based on strategy competency and execution effectiveness. IT will continue to become more crucial to help the business connect the wider dots and build unique competency, and ensure their companies ready for change, space and time are made to scope, plan and execute the digital strategy seamlessly.


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