Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Making and Breaking Points of IT Digital Transformation

IT needs to be ‘propositive,’ which is always giving ideas, leading ahead of the pack and leapfrog a seamless digital transformation.

We are living in an information explosive world where technology is pervasive and the masses are looking for their own experiences to introduce new technologies into the business, leverage information in decision making and innovation management. Forward-thinking organizations declare they are in the information management business to improve organizational competency and long-term business growth. CIOs have to deal with rapid changes, constant ambiguity, increasing complexity, and unprecedented uncertainty. Here are a few making and breaking points of IT digital transformation.

The abundance of information can either make or break IT digital transformation: The abundance of information brings both significant opportunities for the business growth and unprecedented risk which could fail the business even overnight. Information Management becomes making and breaking point of digital transformation. Information Systems are the backbone and provide valuable information for key decision making. Information brings about business ideas; business ideas generate lots of information. Businesses need to understand not only the power and the opportunity information could bring in, but also the potential risks they might get exposed to. The problem most organizations has is that they do not understand what raw material they have to play with because of the poor information management. To improve information management effectiveness, perhaps first work to identify how information is associated with the valued tangibles of businesses, products, and resources, like information flows in processes, and then its own value will become readily apparent and quantifiable by association. Poor information management without effective risk management discipline will increase business vulnerability and even break the business at a certain point. Organizations might also lose the business opportunities if CIOs with “risk avoidance” mentality have tried to reduce technology and IT risk as much as possible. To accelerate change and digital transformation, IT leaders have to weigh risk and reward, take prudent risks and discover ways to mitigate risks rather than eliminate it and embrace business growth opportunities proactively.

IT prioritization could either be the making or breaking point of IT digital transformation: A company has finite resources to apply to get the best yield possible to meet stakeholders’ expectation. Many traditional IT organizations are overloaded and understaffed, assign the large proportion of IT budget and resource to “keep the lights on,” without doing enough for innovating, growing, and transforming their business. IT prioritization mechanism and practices could either be the making or breaking point of IT digital transformation. Prioritization is critical to both improving performance and forcing people to become more innovative for problem-solving. IT leaders shouldn’t just spend all resources on gaining some short-term result.  It takes commitment and discipline to stay focused on the real priorities of the business instead of being distracted by what seems to be more urgent at any given moment. When prioritization helps to focus the strategy of the organization, which has huge benefits in terms of business execution and digital transformation, IT is the rainmaker for the business’s revenue growth. When IT just keeps hands busy without doing enough to deliver “competitive capabilities,” or motivating people to come up with better ideas, the business gets stuck and creates more breaking point; when IT just focuses on providing band-aid approaches or simply makes things more complicated, it is perhaps on the way to break the business as well. Thus, it is important to set the right priority and strike the right balance in running a healthy "Run, Grow, and Transform" IT portfolio.

The IT ability to change and speed of changes can make or break digital transformation: Digital means increasing the speed of changes. But change is not for its own sake, it is IT responsibility to identify opportunities for business transformation wherever analysis and assessment indicate the potential benefits of transformation efforts. Thus, the IT ability to change and the speed of changes can make or break digital transformation. The digital dynamic is where the digital disruption threatens to tear down legacy systems and practices just as it generates new opportunities. Traditional IT organizations often act as the controller, slow to change, and thus, business functions do not think IT as their strategic partners. IT can break digital transformation if it cannot ride the learning curve and catch up with the emergent business technological trends, or it simply lacks changeability to make continuous improvement and on-time delivery in a proactive way. IT can make the digital transformation if it can lead changes via getting as many people pulling in the same direction, optimizing underlying organizational structures and functions, and empowering people with the efficient digital platforms and tools to improve their productivity and engagement. IT is the superglue to break down the silo thinking and digitize the management discipline.

IT is at the crossroad, either move up the maturity level to make things happen or get stuck as a cost center or even break down the business. If IT has to break something - break down silos, break down the status quo, and break down “we always do things like that,” mentality. There are different styles of IT management mentality and methodology to run IT today. Actions depend on maturity, competition and customer expectations, IT needs to be ‘propositive,’ which is always giving ideas, leading ahead of the pack and leapfrog a seamless digital transformation.


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