Wednesday, July 19, 2017

IT Enlightenment

IT enlightenment comes when CIOs are no longer just tactical IT managers, but strategic business executives, and trustful business partners.  

Traditional IT organizations get stuck at the lower level of maturity, often overloaded and understaffed, being perceived as a change laggard in their companies, to keep the lights on reluctantly. But the reality is that nowadays businesses move into the digital future, technology is the fastest growing arena, CIOs need to rise above the status quo and take on a new set of activities that have them involved in the strategy development process from the get-go, to run a premium IT organization with  “enlightenment.”

IT "enlightenment" comes when IT allows the business to do new things: Traditional IT organizations play the role as a controller, provide the commoditized services for keeping the business wheel spinning. When IT is only the mechanism for realizing a vision described by other C-level executives, it becomes a commodity. Now digitalization implies rapid changes and fierce competitions, innovation is no longer “nice to have,” but “must have” core capability for the business to surviving and thriving. CIOs are uniquely qualified to do this because their constant exposure to information and the fact that they are usually the most "connected" of all management group makes them a lightning rod for new ideas and innovation. The challenge is finding an outlet within your organization to channel that lightning once it strikes. IT has to transform from a “controller” to an “enabler,” to a “catalyzer,” leading through “pulling” than ‘pushing.’ To put simply, IT must be engaged enough with the business to actively participate in value realization, not just the tool to support the business. The CIO should be executing business strategy through IT, rather than executing IT strategy that supports the business. And leading CIOs have to move further, reaching out external customers, focus on connecting their companies to markets, helping them understand their clients' evolving needs, and enabling their organizations to grow the business and improve profitability. Information permeates today's enterprises, CIOs have to reinvent their organizations from “reluctant IT” to “enlightened IT.” IT leadership holds the keys to making the company more efficient, effective, and innovative, implements processes and procedures that drive the company to the next level of digital maturity.

IT "enlightenment" comes when IT digitizes the touch point of customer experience: Digital revolution means that channels to customers. IT has both internal and end customers. The internal users who count on IT to equip them with the effective technology tools to improve productivity and work satisfaction; and the end customers who shop the business’s products or service and continue to compare their customer experience with competitors. IT plays a crucial role in optimizing and digitizing every touch point of customer experiences and improving overall customer satisfaction. The digital mantra is to live as “customers,” when practicing IT management. Innovation is not always equal to the latest gadget, it’s about people, culture, partnership, manner, to build a customer-centric organization. The business users would need a delightful experience because if the user is bored or confused with the applications, the revenue or productivity will decrease. And the end customers’ delightful experience will make a significant impact on improving customer retention, new customer acquisition, as well as the business’s brand and reputation. A valid strategic objective and strategy mapping allow you to first understand your customers and what they value, and then identify how to best characterize that value through IT management,

IT enlightenment comes when IT and business can work as the strategic partners for co-creating the better future of their organizations: With today’s business uncertainty and digital dynamic, a CIO can't just sit back and apply yesterday’s logic or techniques to today's problems. The key is to engage with the business and make cross-functional collaboration seamlessly. Digital thinking means new learning attitude. From the business side, it means to show constructive dissatisfaction, understand the risks and potential bear traps. IT is at the unique position to oversee the business with technical understanding, thus, there are times when IT will be the only party in the room with in-depth views of the business and technique know-how about the underlying functions and processes. So, IT needs to apply such knowledge and experience to identify and promote new processes and platforms that can give business leverage in its domain and sector. This is the dimension in which IT is really almost given 'gifts' every day. The trick isn't identifying new things, but culling through the hundreds of new things, and finding those that can be used to the continuous business betterment and improve organization maturity.

IT enlightenment comes when CIOs are no longer just tactical IT managers, but strategic business executives, and trustful business partners.  CIOs have to advocate their organization, and IT value has to be driven, indicated and understood at all levels of the organization. The CIO’s ability to build fundamental business competency is now greater than ever. This is accomplished through establishing strong interdependent relationships with executive peers, achieve operational excellence, and improve customer satisfaction in order to move up the organizational maturity.


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