Thursday, October 12, 2017

An Insightful CIO with “Digital Awareness”

With digital awareness, the CIO can transform from a technology manager into a business-savvy leader, from a hands-on technical manager to a strategic adviser, and from a support-center supervisor to a proactive change agent.

Leading organizations embark on the “Digital Era” of computing and managing, to reach the next level of operational excellence and business maturity. Digital transformation is a journey, the increasing pace of technological advances and exponential growth of information have clearly impacted the nature and scope of opportunity that the business could ever experience and risks the business exposes to. Thus, an insightful CIO should practice self-awareness leadership, gain the multitude of “digital awareness” as well, to be able to look ahead and identify the certain trends in their industry, apply IT to improve business growth and prepare different strategic scenarios to get digital ready.

Technology awareness: More often than not, technology is the disruptive force behind the digital transformation. Thus, as an IT leader, CIOs should have technological vision and awareness, and understand what implies to the future of the business. Nowadays, technology changes very quickly, you must first be aware of new technology before you can learn how to apply it to the business. Thus, digital CIOs are visionary leaders with technological awareness, drawing from their expertise and experience of those around them, crafting and casting the vision for the ways in which tomorrow’s business technologies can create sustainable business value. Setting a vision that isn't high enough doesn't challenge the organization to excel. But establishing a vision that is based on unrealistic expectations will either discount the value of even creating the vision or disenfranchise stakeholders. Thus, CIOs with technology awareness understand how to capture the digital technology trend and well apply the right technology to the business with a tailored solution. A CIO’s vision should be attainable subject to current times and its ability to adapt to changing times and help the business gain a competitive advantage for the long term.

Business awareness: Digital CIOs are not just tactical IT managers, they are strategic business executives first. Thus, they need to have business awareness, focus on solving business problems, not just playing the “shining” technologies. More critically, IT leaders need to learn business languages and drivers and drop any hint of technical terms. From the strategy management perspective, the top business executives should be more concerned about how Information Technology can serve the needs of the business by optimizing business processes and building business capabilities. The gaps between business and IT are the reality, it is challenging to link the dot between business and IT. Thus, CIOs with business awareness should collect feedback from business partners on how they perceive IT, and what IT can do to improve reputation and promote IT as a competitive advantage. Once you show and demonstrate to the other CxOs that you understand the business, you are fluent in both business language and technique know-how, you can bring up the fresh point on how IT can solve business problems creatively, they will respect you and give you authority, power, and influence in executive decision-making and strategy management.

Learning curve awareness in Change Management: As we all know the only "Certainty" or a "Constant" now is "CHANGE." The rate of change has accelerated, indicating that business leaders must learn how to strike a balance between managing complex issues today and be forecasting the uncertain issues of tomorrow. Thus, business leaders must have a learning curve awareness for Change Management. It is no surprise that there is change inertia, a lot of people resist as it takes them outside their comfort zone which generally gives a negative feeling. Having learning curve awareness also means to understand how the change capabilities are underpinned by change processes, people, and technology, and how much change capability is really required for the change effort you are kicking off. Change is a gradual process, change leaders and managers with learning curve awareness can ride the learning curve smoothly, and there is a high level of trust within the upper rankings of the management team, to overcome roadblocks to changes, such as blurred vision, internal politics, inertia, misalignment of systems or processes, overly rigid organizational hierarchy, lack of creativity, etc. Thus, having learning curve awareness is ready to be the step one goes through during change when in actuality they are the steps that come before the change can take place. Be prepared, be flexible, and be skillful, ride learning curve and build change as a dynamic business capability.

Insightful leaders and professionals with strong “digital awareness,” can sense emergent opportunities, predict potential risks, always have a strong understanding of what the business does, how it does it, and how it could be better. With digital awareness, the CIO can transform from a technology manager into a business-savvy leader, from a hands-on technical manager to a strategic adviser, and from a support-center supervisor to a proactive change agent.


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