Sunday, September 10, 2017

Running a “Superglue” Digital IT

IT is the superglue to integrate the business as a whole and the linchpin for connecting the wider dots to stimulate innovation.

Traditional IT organizations often run as the isolated back-office function to keep the lights on, and traditional IT management practices sometimes enforce silos with the controller’s mentality. However, with the increasing pace of changes and information flow, IT shouldn’t be the silo function only. The CIO needs to know how to play a bridge between what businesses understand and what technology understands. At the dawn of the digital era, CIOs should become the strategic top executive who understands business strategy, processes, the latest technologies, motivate IT teams and master of business communication. They would make sure the two worlds - business and IT meet to ensure an optimal performing business. IT needs to be the superglue of the hyper-connected digital organization and the backbone of the interdependent and always-on digital business in which employees at all levels are inspired and allowed to commit their best.

IT as the digital interpreter for the business: The IT-business gap is enlarged when the two parties speak different languages and set different priorities. The business digital transformation is not just about adopting the latest technological gadgets, it has to expand to the different dimensions and permeate into underneath functions and processes of the organization. IT is in a unique position to oversee changes and gain in-depth, technique know-how understanding. Thus, compared to other functions, IT is more fit to become the digital interpreter for the company without “lost in translation.” The purpose to run IT with digital fluency is to mind the gap between business and IT, leverage the latest digital technologies to craft frictionless business culture, fine-tune business processes to bridge silos. The intimate business-IT partnership is the ultimate status to strengthen IT and deliver a better fit, and right-on solutions. Running a super-glue IT can help to streamline information and knowledge flow and build the information savvy business environment. In the past, IT has categorized, prioritized, and designed solutions, bug fixes, enhancements; now with digital style, you need to work with other business leaders to co- make the decisions and provide the pieces of advice for the business to innovate. IT has to become an integral part of the business. The dynamic digital organizations need to get away from letting things fall through and start creating “integrated wholes” by utilizing the correct processes to solve complexities, running a superglue digital IT for ultimately bridging the chasm between the business and IT.

IT as the spinal cord for the organization: It is not sufficient for IT to be just the service provider or the support center only. Digital IT is like the spinal cord for the organization to integrate various functional capabilities into business competencies and bring out technology-enabled business solutions. IT has to deliver the competitive capability to the business as many businesses will plateau without IT. Hence, IT also plays a crucial role in executing the capability-based strategy, and IT strategy is the sub-component of the business strategy. Running a superglue IT means it has to keep consolidating, modernizing, integrating, and innovating in terms of optimizing inner processes, its interactions with external systems, its components, the specific interactions amongst them. It’s important to follow simplification principles to build “as little as possible,” but maximize outcome.

IT as the customer champion: Digital is the era of people. Many say IT needs to shift from IT-business alignment to IT-customer alignment. IT has the two sets of customers, the internal users who use the services or tools IT provides to improve productivity, efficiency, and performance, and the end customers who count on IT for digitizing the touch point of customer experience or increasing satisfaction. In order for IT to act like the customer champion and be perceived as the superglue between business and customers, IT staff has to become business savvy, technologists aren’t just “IT people,” but business professionals with IT skills, they take an interest in the business, step away from behind the computer monitor and understand the business issues. When IT professionals are equipped with the customer-centric mentality, they can speak the digital dialect fluently, earn the trust and respect as business partners, special things happen, the business performance is improved and customers are delightful.

IT is the superglue to integrate the business as a whole and the linchpin for connecting the wider dots to stimulate innovation. High-performance IT organizations see new information technologies as a means to create value for the organization. They are developing the logical scenario and next practices for leading the organization toward the deep, deep digital reality.


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