Monday, November 6, 2017

Three “Don’t” to Improve IT Maturity

IT effects in radical digital tuning are to be an integrator in knitting all important business factors, develop a set of “Dos” and “Don’t” best practices and lessons learned, to improve IT maturity.

Change is inevitable, IT is facing both challenges and opportunities at the sea of changes and abundant growth of information. Whether it's a challenge or an opportunity depends on the relationship between the business and IT and how IT sets the priority to build a balanced “Run, Growth, and Transform” portfolio. There are still many roadblocks on the way, and numerous pitfalls to fail the initiatives for business transformation. It's a challenge if the business and IT “don't work as a whole.” It's an opportunity if the business and IT work together. IT needs to develop the next practices, but also manage a set of “DON'T” list via "lessons learned" in order to reach the next level of maturity.
Don’t over promise, and manage expectation accordingly: To build a reputation as a trustful business partner, IT should set the right priority, leverage the invaluable resources, get to know “When to say yes,” and “when to say No,” accordingly. The major contributing factors to IT overloading are “ineffective leadership,”  "insufficient resources," “overloaded staff,” “demotivated teams,” “Lack of priority” skills, and the classic “can’t say no” attitude. Many IT organizations intend to serve customers better by taking orders and say “YES” to all the requests from business users. But if you overpromise and cannot make on-time delivery, this approach is sometimes a lose-lose situation with the risk to lose accountability, and you bolster a reputation in the company that "IT can't deliver.” IT investment is costly and IT management is complex, so the really important thing is to understand the core business of your enterprise and the problem to solve, set IT priority to focus on the long-term business strategy. The challenge should be met comfortably by identifying important business areas that need improvement, looking for new avenues of revenue, better IT management practices, etc. Under promise and over deliver if possible, and build IT as a reputable partner of the business.

Don’t be afraid of learning curves either for change or innovation, and ask “foolish questions”: Having learning curve awareness means to understand how the change capabilities are underpinned by change processes, people, and technology, and how much change capability are really required for the change effort you are kicking off. Innovation perhaps has an even deeper curve than change, especially for radical or breakthrough innovation because the business often has to take bigger risks. Thus, don’t be afraid of asking “foolish questions,” don’t be scared of taking calculated risks. Working in an innovation garden not only takes passion but also needs the process and hard work to master the learning curve and improve the innovation success rate. Be flexible, the change will always involve failures as well as success. IT should play as an optimistic and cautious innovator with an in-depth understanding of technology potential and limitation, opportunity, and risk, IT needs to become a strategic partner of the business by focusing on the things matter for the business's long-term perspective based on the technological vision.

Don’t pretend to be somebody else, be authentic: From IT leadership and workforce management perspective, authenticity, will be a significant motivational force in meeting the challenges of business in the 21st Century, especially in managing the Millennials and today’s cross-generational and cross-cultural workforces. Because digital technologies make the world so transparent, your professional life and personal life merge seamlessly. There is no way you can hide. Without authenticity, the digital workforce is simply not naturally fit and business potential cannot be fully unleashed. The mistake that most organizations make in business communication is to fail to translate the high-level language of strategy into the professional language of the various staff specialty. One of the root causes of the IT-business gap is about choosing the wrong individual for crucial roles on both sides of the fence. Thus, it's important to encourage people to be comfortable with “who they are,” discover their own inner talent, and keep improving to be the better version of themselves. Select people with “digital fit” in the right position for solving the right problems. “Fitting” doesn’t take the cookie cutting approach, organizational fit means "incluversity." “Fit” doesn't mean that everyone needs to have the same thought process, the same personalities, the same preferences, or the same experiences. The opposite is true, digital fit embraces different approaches, different opinions, different backgrounds, different thought processes, and different skill sets. The true value of an employee is demonstrated when the employee acts as an ambassador, innovator or customer champion of the organization; brings the advanced mindset, knowledge, skills, abilities, and creativity that translates into expected performance outcomes.

Besides the disruptive digital technology trends and overwhelming information growth, IT effects in radical digital tuning are to be an integrator in knitting all important business factors, develop a set of “Dos” and “Don’t” best practices and lessons learned, to improve business agility, flexibility, innovativeness, speed, customer-centricity, and maturity.


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