Tuesday, August 15, 2017

CIOs as “Chief Insight Officer”: Timing, Always-On and Digital Synchronization

Digital synchronization and strategic alignment occur when all parts of the choir sing their respective parts to achieve the high-performance result and bring the long-term business prosperity.

Digital means increasing the pace of changes, continuous disruption, and timing - how to run a real-time business. IT plays a critical role in orchestrating digital transformation. The goal to run a high-responsive, always-on digital IT organization is to create business synergy and achieve digital synchronization of the entire business.

Running a real-time digital IT to accelerate changes: In the digital era with “VUCA” characteristics, timing is everything. Because digital provides abundant opportunities for business growth, also brings unprecedented risks to fail the business even overnight. Digital also enlarges the multiple business gaps because different individuals, functions, organizations, and industries evolve digital with varying speed. Those communication gaps, skill gaps, or execution gaps decrease productivity, drag down the speed, cause mistrust and de-accelerate digital transformation. Hence, to run a real-time, high-responsive digital IT requires IT leaders to first understand their business and industry, and then evaluate the emergent digital technologies based on the value or competitive advantage it brings to the business and the potential risks. And the level of IT responsiveness and maturity depend on how well CIOs can balance the IT needs against the risk tolerance of the business. IT can be like the glue to integrate the multitude of organizational functions, structures, and processes to improve business responsiveness and run a real-time and always-on business with flexibility.

Running a real-time IT to provide business insight for either delighting customers or improving business performance: Timing is always important to leverage the right information for making effective decisions. An insightful IT can ensure information fluidity and business holism. There are different factors mainly drive the quality of products/services under time pressure. With business insights provided by IT, organizations acquire the ability to reshape products, services, and customer engagement timely. Though timing does not mean to rush up. Potentially, longer time frames allow the creation of more alternatives from which to choose, using both rational and instinctive knowledge. Time is a critical factor in decision-making scenario. You do not and can’t afford to defer the decision until such time that all facts and information are available. The decision is necessary as a result of limited resources in time, knowledge, capital, and people. The real-time business insight can help business leaders and professionals make effective decisions timely, and this is more imperative when uncertainty, velocity, complexity, and doubts are major hindrances to decision making.  

On-time delivery: IT has been perceived by the business as lagging to changes with the controller’s mindset. To reinvent IT as the change agent, IT must make on-time delivery and continuous improvement in a proactive way. Timing is critical. Is the functionality required immediately or is there time for it to be developed in-house? When should IT build, when should IT buy? When should IT take the order from customers? When should IT take initiatives to solve business problems in alternative ways? There are a lot of management dilemmas IT has to deal with. Timing matters in order for the company to run at the digital speed today, so why do you reinvent the wheel? You buy when the solution provider can meet most if not all of the critical requirements without a lot of customization, and with faster speed. Keep in mind, the IT organizational maturity is not based on how many years IT organizations have been around and keep running to support the business; but about how well IT can provide innovative solutions to exceed the business’s expectation and delight customers; or to put simply, making on-time delivery and continuous improvement are much more critical than discover an elegant solution.

With IT as an enabler, digital synchronization occurs on multiple levels, but it presupposes the ability of each 'link' to articulate their 'strategic intent.' When IT plays a role as a conductor skillfully, digital synchronization and strategic alignment occur when all parts of the choir sing their respective parts to achieve the high-performance result and bring the long-term business prosperity.


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