Sunday, July 30, 2017

CIOs as Chief Insight Officer: How to Run IT Organization as the “Constructive Disruptor” to Accelerate Digital Innovation?

IT has to drive the changes and plays a pivotal role in digital transformation.

The exponential growth of information and consumerized technologies bring both opportunities and risks for the business growth and innovation. IT is becoming significantly important for helping the business to build the competitive position and improve its performance. Organizations rely more and more on technologies; the IT department has more and more to offer, also has a lot of obstacles to overcome. CIOs as “Chief Insight Officer”: How to run IT organization as the “constructive disruptor” to accelerate digital innovation?

Breaking down silo thinking: Silos always exist. A company is made up silos called functions, and the functions rely upon company/cross-functional strategy, process, and communication. The industrial organization with silo functional setting is to achieve the certain level of operational efficiency, but sometimes decrease business effectiveness. Silo causes cross-functional communication and collaboration gaps and creates barriers that surface between departments within an organization. At their heart, silos are not a structural issue, they are the result of silo thinking. and it is one of the most frustrating business realities in any large mature organization. It easily creates the gaps and often leads unhealthy internal competitions for the limited resources, causing people who are supposed to be on the same team to work against each other. The solution to breaking down silo is to apply bigger thinking, to implement an effective cross-silo strategy, with better integral processes, and collaborative communication. IT is at the unique position to oversee the underlying business functions and processes, thus, IT needs to become a “constructive disruptor” to break down some over-complicated organizational structures or redundant business processes. Digital CIOs have to not only provide clear process guidelines but also see that the teams are embracing cross-functional collaboration and taking customer-centric effort as well.

Disrupting groupthink, conventional wisdom, “comfort zone,” and overcoming change inertia: Due to the “VUCA” characteristics of digital new normal, group think - the group of people with homogeneous setting and too narrow-minded thought processes which create blind spots for them to make sound judgments or effective decisions, especially at the strategic level, should be disrupted constructively. The conventional wisdom often referring to “in-the-box” thinking which has a negative connotation about sticking to the outdated concepts, traditions, cultures, or the old ways to do things, also should be disrupted in order to advance the business or our society. Because both groupthink or conventional wisdom will further cause change inertia, nurture mediocrity, and have people get stuck in their comfort zone, resistant to changes. Much more dangerous is the disengaged workforce to continue thinking in the box, and doing things in the old way even the circumstances have changed significantly. There are two types of resistances are expected: Personal and structural, and both need to be addressed effectively and efficiently. The golden key is to acknowledge resistance and deal with it properly. Modern technologies break down the physical barriers to connect the people across the geographical locations, also bring unprecedented digital convenience for people to learn and update their knowledge. IT leaders and professionals should exemplify as the change agents due to the “disruptive nature of technology,” and fast-growing information. IT is neither just tools nor toys, it should represent CHANGE, the digital CIO needs to look at resistance as a source of energy and where there is energy there is still passion and potential, in order to run IT as a change organization of the business.

IT has to disrupt itself and overcome “Snooze-you-lose” syndrome: Digital is about the accelerating speed of changes. IT should first disrupt itself because it is often perceived as a “slow to change” cost center or put simply, suffering from a “snooze-you-lose” syndrome. IT should ride above of the change curve ahead of the other parts of the company, not only as a transactional role to keep the lights on but also as the transformative force to accelerate digital transformation. IT should focus on the fastest speed available - because that is where the main threat to competitiveness. IT should also keep optimizing business processes to ensure the seamless IT-business integration, create a rhythm of communication and collaboration that establish clarity around the top priorities of the company, and then review those priorities on a regular basis. IT on the fast lane also means to speed up the organizational vehicle as well. IT has to not only improve its own speed, but also the overall organizational responsiveness, flexibility, performance, speed, and maturity.

IT has to drive the changes and plays a pivotal role in digital transformation. IT should be run as the “Constructive Digital Disruptor,” to evolve the digital dynamic and reinvent itself as a strategic business partner and innovative game changer, with ultimate goals to reach the zenith of digital maturity, and accelerate the journey of the digital transformation.


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