Sunday, August 20, 2017

CIOs as “Chief Insight Officer”: Three Aspects to Run Digital IT

Running digital IT means doing more with innovation, transparency, and discipline.

Digital technologies bring unprecedented convenience for either individuals or businesses to think, live, shop or sell, run, grow, and transform. Information becomes the gold mine every forward-thinking organization tries to dig in. IT does provide a significant role in driving changes and leading digital transformation. Digital is the age of innovation with the increasing pace of changes, it provides a great opportunity to think the new way to do things, it forces IT leaders, to get really creative on how they conduct digital transformation and implement changes, to ensure IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next. Here are three aspects to run digital IT.

High-responsive: In traditional organizations, IT is often set back, waiting for the business’s requests, and IT is perceived by the business as slow to change. With fierce competitions and rapid changes, IT has to meet the needs of the business timely; IT leaders should facilitate change driven by the business unit, and they should also monitor those elements of the needed change within the appropriate scope, because IT needs to quickly and cost-effectively confirm that the corresponding changes work smoothly to move the business forward and meet customers’ standardization. There is also the time IT has to act as the change agent for driving changes and advocate innovations. Reinventing IT means that IT leaders must not fall into the role of facilitating flawed or incomplete business initiatives, but establish their IT organization as part of the business, rather than just a service organization for it so that opportunities for defining a successful business rationale are identified and collaborative. Running the high-responsive IT means changeability, speed, flexibility, and risk intelligence. Digital IT catalyzes information flow and drives business changes proactively. Running highly responsive IT also needs to get support from front desks to boardrooms, because it might need to work cross boxes instead within the box. And the common element of running a proactive IT is business engagement - whatever and wherever the business needs are.

Intuitive: Running digital IT also means how to move up IT maturity from functioning to firm to delight. Digital is the age of people and option. There are two sides of IT, the front side of IT facing customer should be intuitive, easy to use, hide the complex nature of technology which is running at the back side. Today’s IT leaders and professionals are not just engineering nerds or computer geeks, but artistic technologists or scientific artists. Those “T-shaped” talent can play a significant role in gluing all critical pieces of innovation puzzles properly. They can fluently mix the art and science to innovate the products or services and delight customers via intuitive interfaces. To delight customers and optimize the customer's’ experience, IT needs to champion intuitive and easy to use customer tailored solutions to achieve specified goals and optimize the customer experience in a continuous delivery way. A real customer-centric approach permeates into everything about the way the CIO leads in the business. An intuitive IT-enabled business solution meeting the customer’s criteria such as, what the users need it to do, the way they want to do it, quickly enough, accurately enough, and easy to use, etc. The digital IT paints an excellent picture of the business interaction and independence of the expanded digital ecosystem.

Maintainable: The majority of IT organizations spend the significant portion of their resource and talent on maintaining IT to keep the lights on, no wonder they get stuck at the lower level of maturity to react to changes. In fact, most systems cost more to maintain than build! IT maintainability is decided by the quality of IT delivery, reusability, module design, process flow, etc. To improve IT maintainability, IT needs to prune “the weed” regularly and keep the process nimble. The approach is to implement a program that like a gardener would prune the tree and nurture the valuable solutions. IT has the power to affect not only break-fix day-to-day technical operations but also directly impact the bottom line of business activities & efficiency and the top line of business growth and competitive edge. IT should provide the business with a platform to manage and sustain change effectively with accurate and appropriate information whenever required, and also provide the business to explore/venture into new areas that'll provide value to the business. The assessment of IT maintainability includes:
- time to change: how much time does it take to change to happen
- time to recover: how much time to resume normal operation
- time to compliance: how much time required to achieve business compliance
- time to detect: how much time before the detection of business risk
- time to resolve: how much time before awareness turns into business resolution

Running digital IT means doing more with innovation, transparency, and discipline. If the CIO is proactive and innovative, IT can be run in a proactive mode to make continuous delivery of customer-tailored products/services/solution and to become a changing organization in their company. An effective CIO’s job is to improve IT operations to reduce the burden on the company while trying to stay current with ever-changing business dynamic.


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