Wednesday, October 18, 2017

CIOs as “Digital Master”: How to Ride Three Learning Curves to Improve IT Digital Maturity?

CIOs today need to be the digital master, because there is now a greater need for a CIO to equip with digital mindsets, ride learning curves, and lead changes seamlessly.

Due to the disruptive nature of technologies and exponential growth of information, the CIO role also becomes more dynamic and multifaceted. Compare to the other executive positions, the CIO role continues to be shaken up, refined, reinvented to get digital ready. A digital CIO has to focus on guiding the company through digital transformation. At the very least, IT must be a business partner within the organization. Regardless of which industry sectors or the nature of the organization you are in, being a digital CIO will need to ride the multitude of learning curves promptly and lead digital transformation effortlessly.

Change curve: With the rapid pace of changes, Digital IT organizations are “designed for changes,” rather than “Built to last.” Thus, CIOs need to become the change agent. The real problem seems to understand the change curve and how it relates to change. Usually, the curve 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. More often than not, the change curve seems to be a tempting "solution" on how to explain the change process to the people concerned. In reality, more than two-thirds of changes fail to achieve the business’s expectation. The change curve is applicable to everyone even those who planned and conceived the vision. CIOs as change leaders need to ask deep questions to understand how steep the change curve could be: Why do change initiatives often fail? Is the change curve a useful construct? Do people easily accept change? What is the psychology behind the change? Do people follow a predictable pattern of responses? Etc. The logical scenario is about clearing change vision, gaining curve awareness, be motivated to change, gain knowledge of change initiative, recognize change champions and change agents, and build change as an ongoing capability. All stages must be handled with attention and proficiency to ensure success. Open and honest dialogue is the key, people just want the truth. Change Management is a journey, not just a one-time business initiate, riding ahead of the change curve takes both strategy and methodology, people are the weakest link, also the best reason for any changes, so make people as your CORE focal point.

Innovation curve: Digital IT must do more with innovation. Innovation is change, but change is not always equal to innovation. Innovation perhaps has an even deeper curve than change, especially for radical or breakthrough innovation because the business often has to take bigger risks. Work on an innovation garden not only takes passion but also need the process and hard work to master the learning curve and improve the innovation success rate. However, many organizations are not fertile ground for innovation, they avoid taking risks, and seldom learn from their mistakes. Part of the innovation learning curve is how to manage risks. The risk is part of innovation, but you can manage parts of these risks by taking a structural approach. The innovation framework is the key ingredient in managing innovation by deploying a range of different management practices, technologies, processes, and structural solutions. Also, to ride learning curves with speed, it requires much more effective collaboration and optimized innovation processes for minimizing cost, time and risk whilst maximizing scalable solutions.

Digital awareness curve: More and more forward-thinking organizations empower their IT to lead the digital transformation. Digital CIOs are not just tactical IT managers, they are strategic business executives and top digital leaders who need to ride the learning curve to gain digital awareness. They should envision the future of business and share their technological vision with boards and the variety of shareholders. More critically, CIOs need to cover both the business dimension and technology dimension as well as the interactive side of IT-business. Because digital transformation is truly not about single dimensional technology update, but a multidimensional business stretch. Above all, Digital CIOs have been strategy influencers and persuaders. The increasing speed of changes forces IT leaders to get really creative on how they architect and implement change, to ensuring IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next. IT leaders 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 become a strategic partner and the digital catalyzer of the business.

CIOs today need to be the digital master, because there is now a greater need for a CIO to equip with digital mindsets, ride learning curves and understand business drivers, step out of the isolated technological box, get to know more about the business, customers and digital ecosystem, apply digital technologies to solve the ever-emergent business issues, and run IT as the digital transformer of the business.


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