Thursday, July 13, 2017

CIOs as Chief Insight Officers: Three Critical Steps to Move UP IT Maturity

IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage.

Digitalization disrupts not only the business boundary but also the industry boundary. Today’s digital organization is more like an organic living thing thriving in the expanded business ecosystem. Never before has IT and business been so closely tied together, never before has technology moved more quickly and missteps have larger trajectory impacts on every aspect of the business. IT has to move up its maturity from a reactive support function to a strategic business partner and even a digital game changer. More specifically, here is the three level of IT maturity.

IT - business alignment and mapping: IT- business alignment is about “keeping an eye on the horizon.” Look for and assess IT manageability, determine viability and alignment with the organization's strategic direction. IT - business alignment also ensures that IT can keep the fundamental right - sustain IT operations to “keep the lights on.” Make sure IT systems run according to plan, schedule, and performance standards. Control costs to the greatest extent possible, including resource, equipment, and facility costs under the CIO's purview. From the strategic management perspective, if the strategic intent can be understood both within IT and across the entire company, the IT-business alignment process becomes an analytic and harmonized process where the actual configuration of the organization's strategy is a consequence of design and implementation of strategies. The CIO tends to focus on capability analysis, current state evaluation, gap analysis, and development of the IT roadmap to reach a reasonable target future state. Business architecture and IT framework can be very valuable for performing a wide array of the alignment and mapping activities including process measurement and optimization, segment analysis, strategic positioning, and a wide array of other business functions. IT management framework should have the capability to transform manual process and the business requirement to process design and governance so that the organization’s mission, vision, and goal can be realized.
IT-business integration: CIO is an inherently cross-functional role, to help bridge the business and technology, the information and wisdom, the organization and the digital ecosystem, the silo industrial age and the digital era. Hence, IT needs to keep moving forward from IT-business alignment to the IT-business integration stage. IT proactively works as an integral part of the business to capitalize on opportunities via leading the transformation, or IT delivers the best solutions to the business problems which meet the business’s requirement or tailor customers' needs. IT also plays an important role in building up a high mature digital enterprise which can succeed in combining two distinct but interconnected elements - the strategic responsiveness and structural flexibility. The high integration of business and IT can improve the overall organizational responsiveness, effectiveness, performance, speed, and maturity. Further, integrating customer experience with the business design via applying the latest digital technologies should be a critical aspect of planning and orchestrating the future of digital business with customer-centricity. IT effects in radical digital tuning are to be an integrator in knitting all important business factors, to build the business competency for achieving business agility, flexibility, innovativeness, speed, customer-centricity, and maturity.
IT - business engagement: At the alignment stage, the CIO has to ensure IT strategy is a cohesive sub-component of the business strategy, and IT manageability enables strategy implementation. To move up the next level, from IT/business alignment stage, to well jump in IT engagement era, the CIO needs to involve co-creating the business strategy. This will allow IT to shine in both roles –as an enabler and the digital transformation driver. And running a bold IT is to reimagine IT on how to become a game changer to catalyze business growth through proactively engaging in strategic making and execution. It’s time for IT to make the leap from a functional service provider to a business enabler to a digital transformer, working with the business to create a new business model. IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. The top management team should work on identifying opportunities for enhancing IT- business relationship and clarify strategies and business goals, empower IT leaders to drive changes and take the step-wise approach to lead the digital transformation. IT needs to build a good reputation as a trusted business partner and an innovative problem-solver via an in-depth understanding of business problems as well as knowing how to leverage technologies for solving them innovatively. In order to engage in the business more proactively, IT has to move from providing largely back-office support to become the prime facilitator, enabler, and orchestrator of the high mature digital business.  

IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. Even the speed of change is increasing, businesses still do have contexts of relative certainty, while simultaneously having contexts reflecting both complexity and chaos. Each of these contexts requires a different management approach, take all critical steps to move up IT maturity and run a high-performance digital business.


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