Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The CIO as “Chief Instrument Officer”: How to Lead Changes and Orchestrate Digital Transformation Effortlessly

The digital CIO needs to be the proactive, visible and influential top business leaders.

Every forward-thinking organization claim they are in the information management business, nowadays IT plays a critical role in the business growth and digital transformation. Within a mature organization, the CIO is a leadership role which requires the breadth of the business knowledge and the depth of technical insight. What determines the level of the CIO position is the impact they have made across the company and even industry, and hence their reputation, their reporting line, their title, hopefully further to their achievements, rather than their mere contribution for the company bottom line that helped them reach the current level. In the digital era, high mature CIOs are “Chief Instrument Officers,” who can lead changes and orchestrate digital transformation effortlessly.

Digital CIO needs to lead more as a conductor than a constructor: Thanks for the lightweight digital technologies, IT is shifting from “T” focused monolithic support function to “I” driven mosaic information hub, in order to speed up and improve the digital organization's responsiveness, performance, and maturity. As many organizations are reaching the inflection point for the radical digitalization, while IT provides an important structure and framework to streamline the process and enable the digital transformation. IT will do less about building from scratch, and do more to explore different business options, on-demand software services to help the organization build dynamic business capabilities and provide tailored solutions with continuous delivery much more quickly. Learning the business is a must for the CIO to come up with an experiential knowledge coupled with information for enabling and empowering the enterprise. For larger enterprises, their IT resources and dynamic capabilities are often the company's secret sauce and the key to how they deliver value to the business and drive digital transformation. From IT leadership perspective, while the in-depth understanding of technology is critical, no less important is the ability to articulate the business impacts and opportunities of emergent digital technology trends to the C-suite. CIOs should convey their technological vision and have to leverage the different points of views to truly become the strategic advisor of the business, conduct changes, and frequently align differing business priorities for improving the business performance and maximizing the digital potential of their business.

Define the IT change roadmap with “5W+1H” navigation to improve IT organization's changeability, performance, and maturity: The general expectation from IT has changed. Not only are they being seen as a business enabler, but they are also now mandatorily required to give ROI for the investments, as well as lead changes proactively. In fact, the required changes, at the most fundamental level, need to be well documented. Timelines are already decided by the business and now the choice of technology gradually as well. Another facet could just be the control of when to implement change with cost-effectiveness and process efficiency. Don’t embrace every trend or fad though, seek the business justification for IT initiatives, costs for internally implemented products/services can be determined with a high degree of confidence whereas external products can change their pricing schedules bringing uncertainty to costs on a going forward basis. A clearly defined roadmap is available, and the industry best/next practices are in place to serve as a framework upon which the solution can be implemented over time. With a comprehensive IT roadmap, the CIO can instrument the digital transformation in a more structural way to provide service/solution delivery with the cohesive set of enterprise capabilities and repeatable management processes in place.    

The digital CIOs should also master instrument of information management to ensure the right people getting the right information at the right time to make the right decisions: Digital IT has to focus on both information content and context, and understand how that information can be tapped from the underlying data and be utilized to turn it into valuable strategic insight, how the information and insight can be penetrated through the business and be actively used in enforcing the business performance. The role of modern CIO is to identify and blend the ways that information and technology can assist and shape the business by linking all digital aspects together for achieving high business results. The CIO as “Chief Instrument Officer,” has to keep the in-house order, and must simultaneously coordinate with all sorts of business partners or stakeholders across the geographical territories and time zones, take into account the time lag, to ensure they can orchestrate the digital transformation harmoniously and effortlessly.

The digital CIO needs to be the proactive, visible and influential top business leaders, get out of the comfort zone, think profoundly, act decisively, and provide a clear vision that their staff can get excited about how to delight customers, and get engaged in doing more about innovation. Ultimately, the CIO's success is about vision, leadership, business acumen, innovation, strategic planning, strong interpersonal communication skills, expert influence, team-building, entrepreneurship, passion, commitment, and energy.


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