Saturday, October 21, 2017

CIOs as “Chief Instrument Officer” How to Define, Refine, and Scale IT Digital Transformation

IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage.

Due to fast-paced changes and exponential growth of information. IT becomes more critical in leading business innovation and transformation. IT has to reinvent itself to exemplify proficiency in planning, designing, innovating, and building the new business model, as well as refining or scaling IT digital transformation. At today’s information-driven business dynamic, there’s no shortage of problems to tackle, it’s all about to be able to get all the way around the task, to see it from all interests. CIOs need to be bold and innovative, define and refine IT to get digital ready.

Define digital IT core competency: IT can no longer just be run as a commodity service provider to keep the lights on only. CIOs have to define the set of IT competency to tailor the organizational needs. IT needs to be value-added, the aggressive role of IT today for many organizations is an automation solutionary, information steward, innovation hub, and a digital transformer. How IT should define its core competency also depends on the company culture, business requirement, and types of industry the company works for. The core competencies are such deep proficiency that enables a company to deliver unique value to customers and gain a competitive business advantage. Generally speaking, digital IT needs to shift from “T”- the technology-based organization to “I”- information-driven business, because information is the gold mine all forward-thinking organizations dig to capture business foresight and customer insight, to differentiate winners from laggards, digital leaders from mediocre companies. Digital CIOs should build their IT competency based on their organization’s innate strength and growth potential, business strategy and long-term vision of their companies.

Refine IT reputation as the trustful business partner: Traditional IT organizations were run as the support function, often get stuck at the lower level of maturity, and their IT leaders do not have a seat at the big table. Thus, IT is perceived as a cost center which cannot get real respect from the business. To refine IT reputation as the trustful business partner, CIOs need to spend more time on understanding the business issues enough to push back on what they asked for and explain how alternatives can provide more value. IT should strive to be a revenue contributor to the business. Thus, CIOs should invite the business customers to provide feedback for IT to improve, also, IT needs to spend significant time on learning the business in order to renovate IT operation and innovate IT products and services. Because nowadays digital customers and employees are more selective and expect applications to be as intuitive and task-oriented. Thus, highly innovative IT needs to be like the startup to keep growth mindset and manage a shorter products/services delivery cycle, do sustainable innovation which means products and services need to be improved via continuous conversation, integration, and optimization. The more important thing is to work on the activities and considerations that need to be addressed to enhance the IT-business relationship. IT plays an important role in interpreting business issues into a technology solution, also, leverage the necessary resources to solve them. Running IT as a trustful business partner means that CIOs should help to bridge business and technology, information and wisdom, company and digital ecosystem, move up from IT-business alignment, to integration to engagement to reach the high-level business maturity.

Scale IT as digital ecosystem linchpin: Digital means the increasing speed of changes, hyperconnectivity, and always-on business dynamic. Digital technologies blur the functional, business, and geographical territories so information can flow more freely across the business ecosystem. Organizations can build a highly integrated business platform, fine-tune organizational structure to enable business flow and innovation. IT plays as a linchpin to weave a seamless digital ecosystem. Scaling IT means that digital CIOs should run IT both in the business and on the business to evolve customers, channel partners, suppliers, and industry ecosystem participants as active agents who have permission to combine the modular capabilities exposed in a platform to create new experiences and expand its impact with faster speed. Transforming IT from the "weakest link" to "digital linchpin" takes vision, innovation, strategy, and practices. It's about creating a structure that continually delivers what the business needs and maximize the digital potential of the company. The digital business ecosystem is open, fluid, dynamic and energetic. To scale IT influence, it is important for IT to look for providing business solutions which will directly benefit the external end customers and improve business competency.

IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. The priority for CIOs is to genuinely position IT as an integral and inseparable part of the business, define core IT competency, refine IT reputation as the business partner, and scale IT influence in driving changes and leading digital transformation.


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