Friday, June 9, 2017

Three Focal Points of Running Digital IT

It’s important to explore “the art of possible” brought by the fast growth information and convenience of digital technologies.

IT is shifting from a back office support function to a strategic business partner and digital engine of the organization. Digital IT is also moving up from IT-business alignment to IT-business integration and IT-customer alignment. IT has to expand its influence across the digital ecosystem as it is in the unique position to bring an in-depth understanding of the underlying functions and oversee the business competency from both strategic and operational lens. IT has to keep optimizing itself, also keep the entire company both strategic and operational fit in order to get digital ready.

IT optimization: IT is complex due to the complex nature of technology and exponential growth of information. But it doesn't mean IT should continue to complicate the matters or increase unnecessary complexity without disciplines. Organizations leverage IT to improve efficiency, engage employees, and delight customers. Achieving efficiency is always one of the important business goals to improve the bottom line. If most managers still apply old silo management mindsets to new ways of organizing and collaborating, over-complexity will continue to be the biggest challenges in the business today. Hence, IT needs to prune “the weed” regularly, and do the IT health check routinely, to ensure it is functioning firmly and satisfy both internal customers (the business users) and external customers (the end business customers) accordingly. IT needs to focus on things which matter to the business via setting the right priority. IT strategy is an integral component of the business strategy. The business strategy tells you what processes you should focus on because they are strategic to the company. It also tells you whether you are redesigning business processes to achieve changes in time, cost, nimbleness, quality, or scope. Keeping “IT Fit” takes both strategy and discipline, but it is worth the effort.

IT responsiveness: The speed of digital transformation is dependent on how fast IT can ride ahead of the change curves. IT needs to improve its changeability and even become the “change agent” organization of the company. IT leaders have to ask:  Is the IT organization a pioneer, mature adapter, or change laggard? The type of speed issues in the traditional IT organization (IT slow to change) comes from gaps created between IT and the rest of the company. When IT still keeps the controlling mentality, and on the other way round, no appetite from business users to involve IT, then IT has been perceived as a laggard in their organizations. To speed up, it is strategic imperative to bridge the gap and run IT as the business. As always, change is inevitable, the challenge of managing change and adoption is tough, and those firms that can accomplish this feat will have the ability to tackle other challenges, put an emphasis on speed, agility, and improve the strategic responsiveness and structural flexibility. IT needs to have all the necessary structure/ methodology /tool in shaping the new box of thinking and managing the emergent digital complexity in order to ride ahead of change curves and manage digital transformation effectively.

“I” driven information-innovation management: IT as the information steward of the firm has to focus on the information aspect of the role in the context of the business. Because information could be one of the most time-consuming pieces of the innovation puzzle. And IT plays a significant role to add those critical pieces properly. Digital is the age of innovation which is the light every organization is pursuing now. Effective information management brings more business opportunities to manage innovation smoothly. Given this assertion, there is no limit to the value of information in the digital economy. Information is structured and presents facts in context to targeted situations and conditions that facilitate business in making the right decisions at the right time. Digital IT organizations need more integrated data lifecycle management solutions to conquer information management challenges. So, digital IT is able to provide information accessibility and availability, ensure transparency and visibility, enable trust and reliability, with the ultimate business goal to run a highly effective and highly innovative digital organization.

With overflowing information and overwhelming business changes, IT needs to shift from a “controller” to a “digital catalyzer.” It’s important to explore “the art of possible” brought by the fast growing information and convenience of digital technologies. IT is the business, and IT is the game changer of the digital transformation.


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