Thursday, August 17, 2017

A “Structural CIO”: How to Manage IT Systematically

The “structural CIOs” can practice scientific engineering disciplines and take systematical approaches to manage an insightful IT organization.

Information becomes omnipresent and technology is the disruptive force behind the digital transformation. In modern society, computation has become one of the most important disciplines of science, this is because it is the science of how machines can be made to carry out intellectual processes and capabilities. IT is an engineering discipline, as always, but adding more enriched digital context for the paradigm shift. Hence, an effective CIO’s job is to take the structural approach to improve operations via reducing the waste and burden on the company, improving systems, streamlining processes and providing continually expanding business solutions while trying to stay current and riding the learning curve with ever-changing technologies. Though one of the most magic titles of the CIO is “Chief Innovation Officer,” today’s modern CIOs are also the “structural CIOs” who can manage changes & innovation systematically, and accelerate digital transformation in a structural way.

Structural thinking processes: Due to the complex nature of technology and shortened knowledge life cycle, CIOs today must be able to apply multidimensional thinking and practice engineering discipline for either making effective decisions or improving IT management maturity. The CIO’s structured thinking processes are the things they bring to the table for solving complex business problems. Because engineering practices require systematic thinking and stepwise problem-solving skills. Hence, digital CIOs are specialized generalists who need to both have a bigger picture perspective as well as technical understanding, they need to have a clear technological vision, and have genuine empathy with the users of technology and end customers as well. in order to improve IT manageability. A structural thinking process often includes a cohesive set of multidimensional thought processes such as logical thinking, analysis & synthesis, critical thinking, systems thinking skills, etc, so IT leaders can absorb information, refine knowledge, capture insight, and abstract wisdom effortlessly. It enables digital IT leaders understanding the interconnectivity between parts and the whole, and interdependence of the digital business ecosystem. So, they not only know how to break down the large problems into small pieces but also master on how to integrate the small pieces into the holistic perspectives without enlarging the gaps or causing too many side effects. IT is in a unique position to have oversight of the underlying business functions and processes. Thus, a “structural CIO” can have profound insight on how IT can bridge IT-business gaps, improve business processes and integrate businesses to ensure seamless business execution.

Structural IT management disciplines: IT Engineering practices and disciplines require structural approaches and problem-solving capabilities. With engineering as science, different people specify requirements/design you get the same results, and different people read the resulting specifications you get the same explanation. If idea creation is more art than science, and then the nature of how the "implementation of the idea has to follow a logical path for the solution,” and it provides a great opportunity for IT to shine based on its scientific discipline. It takes a structural approach to enhance the IT-business relationship, doing the alignment, collaboration, integration, and optimization, etc. Either unpuzzling innovation or overcoming IT complexity requires IT and the business working as a collaborative team, this is especially important in today’s digital dynamic in which technologies are continuing to experience dramatic change at an accelerated pace, driving the role of IT to become increasingly more complex and challenging. From IT management perspective, digital leaders need to present the “know-how” technical understanding and take the structural approach to get better solutions through asking big WHY, peeling back the layers to find the root cause and address it systematically

A structural approach to managing people: With the increasing speed of changes and continuous disruptions, organizations must focus on building the people-centric business by leveraging the emergent digital pipelines for recruiting, communicating, innovating, and collaborating. The key differentiator between high performance IT and the average IT is people. It is important to take a structural approach to integrate talent management/performance management/culture management/change management/knowledge management to a holistic people management solution. To run a people-centric, insightful digital organization, you need to utilize technology and manage information lifecycle in a structural way. The strategic and structural workforce planning is a responsibility of all functions in the organization, which requires cross-functional collaboration between executive team, managers, finance, marketing, IT and others.

The “structural CIOs” are neither too rigid to stifle innovation, nor too static to adapt to changes. They can practice scientific engineering disciplines and take systematical approaches to manage an insightful IT organization in driving business awareness, gaining contextual intelligence, sensing opportunities, predicting risks, achieving the high-performance business result and maximizing the digital potential of the business.


Consultants Factory (CF) specializes in model based approach. We help your IT Organization establish industry best practices & standards like ITIL, COBIT, ISO 9001, ISO 20000, ISO 27001, ISO 22301, Six Sigma etc.

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