Monday, July 24, 2017

Cultivate Three Healthy Digital Habits to Run a High Mature IT Organization

It is important for IT to cultivate healthy digital habits for becoming a real problem solver, innovator, and change agent.

Due to the exponential growth of information and continuous digital disruptions, there is a high expectation of running IT as a digital engine and businesses change agent. The business wants customer-tailored IT solutions that enable them to be efficient in providing services and products to their market at the right cost to deliver profits to the shareholder. IT just can’t get stuck in “busyness,” to keep the lights on only, it needs to cultivate the healthy digital habits to run IT as an ‘orchestrator,’ to conduct an information-mature, customer-centric digital organizations

Practice innovative problem-solving diligently: Traditional IT organizations often have “We always do things like that” mentality, take the “band-aid” approach to fix the symptoms, for keeping the lights on, or taking care of immediate problems, with ignorance of digging into the root cause of real problems, or putting too little time and resources on strategic initiatives. IT needs to cultivate healthy digital habit and become the problem-solver of the business. The real problem-solving is about seeing a problem and actually discovering a real solution to that problem, not just the band-aid approach to fixing the symptoms. The forward-looking organizations always continue to learn and strike the right balance between “old” and “new” way to do things. It is important to channeling creativity for solving tough problems. Especially due to the “VUCA” characteristics of the digital new normal, business problems become more complex than ever. When you encounter a tough problem, you need to apply the deep critical thinking for framing the right problems, and then solve them in a creative way. So, for many old and emergent problems, you have to challenge automatic assumptions that something needs 'fixing,'  It depends on the problem, how and to what extent it is manifesting in a way that cries for fixing, To 'just go ahead and fix it carries assumptions, particularly, assumptions about something wrong, limiting, or not working in some way that requires 'fixing,” from where it emanates the greater context for understanding things from different angles and figure out the alternative ways to shape better solutions. Thinking creatively about a problem requires being close to the problem, it requires context and intangible variables. Being a great problem-solver also means that IT can leverage the necessary information to predict the upcoming risks and help the business prevent potential problems. Problem prevention is always superior to fixing, it is supposed to be the main principle for problem management.

Set IT management priority wisely: Many IT organizations spend a high proportion of time and resources on transaction-related activities. They are often overloaded and understaffed, get trapped into “busyness,” overwhelmed with too many projects or change initiatives, and overloaded with short-term business concerns. Therefore, setting the right priority wisely is a good habit for IT leaders to run a highly effective IT organization. Keep in mind, CIOs don't set priorities in vacuums. Rather, they'll use the enterprise's strategy and business objectives to determine which capabilities are needed to enable it to achieve those objectives and then build or solidify those capabilities with the prioritizing skills. A high mature digital IT needs to understand stakeholders’ expectations and propose a service/solution portfolio that corresponds to both demand and cost drivers with a focus on business priority and building unique business competency. A good place to start is by trying to get all parts of the business on the same process for proposing, justifying and prioritizing IT management portfolio. The CIO can only set the right priority choice and speed up to drive changes if they have the information available to them and proactively understand businesses and customers first to avoid changing for the technology’s sake.

Connect cross-functional dots fluently:  The traditional boundaries of business functions are disappearing or becoming very murky in the digital organizations empowered by digital technologies today. Organizations are at a crossroads where the segregation or silo of business units are at a need to reach across the aisles and respectively work with each other. Each business function brings a unique perspective and a set of skills to the table. Effective IT management means understanding every island of operation and every workflow process smoothly. Hence, it is also important to cultivate the good habit of connecting cross-functional dots fluently. The hyper-wired IT can focus on driving, enabling and orchestrating business changes and digital transformation in the areas of integration of best-of-breed tools/services and innovation in the overall strategy of the enterprise. To make the link strong and the outlook clear is to empower the IT team and make them think through the business world and from the customers’ perspective while working on the customer-centric solutions. Digital IT transformation is the journey to shift from enterprise IT for standardization to experiment the consumerization of IT for harnessing personalization; from running IT with siloed management mentality to practice holistic thinking with hyper-connected and hybrid digital practices.

Digital is the age of options, it provides the opportunity to think the new way to do things, so it forces IT leaders to be proactive and get really creative in how they orchestrate and implement change, cultivate a set of digital habits, practice, practice, and practice more on running a high-innovative digital IT, to ensuring IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next, do more with innovation, and solve all sorts of business problems innovatively.


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