Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Three Aspects to Run an “Ultra-Modern” IT Organization

Running an “ultra-modern” IT organization starts with the advanced thinking of today’s digital leaders.

We live in an information-enriched and the technology-empowered world, every day more and more technologies affect the way we think, live, and work. Great opportunities, dangers, and disruptions are around every corner.  However, many IT organizations seem to have a tendency to align with the slow changing parts of the organization, act as a controller, not an enabler. In order to make a leap of digital transformation, IT must become the strategic partner of the business, the trendsetter of the business advancement, and the catalyzer of the digital transformation. Here are three aspects to run an “ultra-modern” IT organization.

Running an “ultra-modern” IT is not just about adopting the latest digital technology: Nowadays, information is permeating into every corner of the organization, IT is making an impact on almost every dimension of the organization. Digital CIOs managing IT and business get an amazing 360-degree view of the business processes and challenges required to integrate all-important organizational element together into differentiated business competency. Adopting the latest technology is an easier part of business modernization scenario, the challenge is to optimize the underlying business functions and advance the business from every dimension. In fact, the most advanced thing in the business or our society is not hard things - neither super-computers nor fancy gadgets, it is the collective mindset that can think forward, creatively and positively. IT has to shift the focus from “T” hardware-driven to “I” - information-centric. Though it seems that the business world is steadily moving from the industrial age to the digital era, many think we are still live in the time with information-rich and insight-poor. Running an “ultra-modern” IT is to manage the information life cycle of the business effectively, to ensure the right people can get the right/updated information to make the right decisions timely. And more fundamentally, running an ultra-modern IT means that IT leaders and staff are equipped with the advanced mindset who can think a few steps further than their business peers, so, IT can truly drive changes instead of reacting to changes. IT should not just empower business users with efficient digital platforms or tools, but enlighten the business with a clear vision and unique insight to make a smooth digital transformation.  

The modern scenario to bridge IT and the business is to break down silos, be fluent with digital dialogue, and enforce cross-functional communication and collaboration: An ultra-modern IT is the bridge for the digital paradigm shift. IT is not just the service provider to work “for the business,” but plays as a strategic partner to work both “on the business,” and “in the business.” Because at the high mature digital organization, what C-level executives really want from IT is a trusted business partner who knows what the business want even before they know themselves. The connection between IT and business lies in using the common digital language to help business cross that bridge to IT. The faster both parties understand that IT is not just technical, but rather business oriented, and then many companies start to have better conversations with each other and what’s more, a better understanding of how it all makes sense. The business needs to know what IT can deliver and enter a dialogue about what best serves the goals of the business and advance the business up to the next level, not just for reaping quick wins, but also for the long-term business prosperity.

The ultra-modern IT organizations can guide through the innovation journey of the business with systems wisdom: The modern IT is not equal to IT modernization, it goes a step further, doing more with innovation. The ultra-modern IT needs to be telling the business about the opportunities and possibilities. The CIO role has never been about just managing the status quo, so the digital shift for IT in some industries is to be innovative with systems of engagement. There are a lot of opportunities to clarify the role of IT in innovation. As an ultra-modern CIO, you need to understand what the organization’s expectation from IT through an innovation lens. The challenging part is that innovation is not only about technology, But Innovation also is not always equal to the latest gadget, it’s about people, process, culture, partnership, manners, etc. IT has to orchestrate all those important ingredients into the unique innovation capability of the business. The optimistic perspective is that the emergent digital technology just makes innovation easier to implement than in the past, more accessible and least costly. Further, as a CIO, If you can innovate across the business, regardless of which function you are involved in, then you can surely change the shape of what you deliver, not just how it's delivered. Highly innovative IT teams with ultra-modern mindset can work with business counterparts more collaboratively in a value-oriented manner to inspire creativity and advance the business to reach the pinnacle of the business growth cycle.

Running an “ultra-modern” IT organization starts with the advanced thinking of today’s digital leaders. When they have the courage to break the outdated rules, break down silos; envision the better future, they are on the right track to lead forward. When CIOs can take the bold move from doing digital to going digital and being digital, they are at the progressive journey to advance their company for unlocking the business potential and reaching the next level of business performance and maturity.


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