Thursday, December 28, 2017

CIOs as Chief Improvement Officer: How to Take The Walks to get Digital Ready

Digital CIOs should have a leg in both the business and IT world and take all those important walks for getting digital ready.

In today’s digital dynamic and technical environments where IT is being used more and more around the globe for revenue generating initiatives and the business is becoming IT. Digital IT needs to become more dynamic and innovative. There are so many responsibilities on the IT leaders’ shoulder, and they cannot stand still, they have to become the pathfinders, bridge the gaps, take different walks to get digital ready.

Walk the business halls confidently: Nowadays IT leaders are not running as an isolated support function, but a change agent organization. IT is core to most parts of the business and must, therefore, adapt to changes in speed. CIOs have to become more visible, present, proactive, and innovative, not just wait for the business’s requests, but harness IT-business communication and collaboration. To keep IT relevant and be proactive to changes, they have to be able to not only articulate the vision but also communicate it in various forms and forums to the different audience, including BoDs, investor relations, C-suite peers, IT staff, customers, business partners, etc. They need to walk the business halls confidently, meet the key operational people, see how they work, ask open questions, what IT can do to make their life easier? Showing that you truly understand the business and what is required to deliver value will create the "trust." Most IT teams aren't as good at cross-functional communication. It’s the CIO’s responsibility to bridge IT and business gaps and move from IT-business alignment to IT-business engagement. Digital CIOs should step out of the conventional thinking box and practice creative communication, to amplify their contemporary leadership voice via taking responsibilities for demonstrating the competence of IT team and building a strong IT brand.

Walk the innovation Talk effortlessly:
Innovation is overused and misused by many, obsessively filling all presentations. Innovation has become a buzzword to the point that those who truly understand it cannot get the real message out through the "hype" and truly implement innovative change. To briefly described, "innovation means implementing  novel ideas to create value.” Innovation is about moving forward. There is no standing still. In any business, if you are not moving forward, you're moving backward. Forward-thinking IT organizations become the innovation engine of the company. Walking the innovation talk needs to be a well-prepared and business-focused journey. Being able to engage in the successful creation of innovations is very hard work and does include a lot of skills and abilities as well as processes and theories. Innovation also needs to lay out different thinking, structures, and solutions to allow this to develop into its potential where organizations are combining all that is available to them in imaginative or advantageous ways. CIOs should be able to walk the innovation talk effortlessly, take an innovation journey with solid footprints and create its own landscape and unique views.

Walk the digital way steadfastly: In today’s world and in most organizations, technology change tends to be large, complex and frequent and so changing the other parts has tended to become subsumed into the remit of the IT department. Thus, for many organizations, the IT department has become synonymous with the change department and digital engine. IT needs to lead the business in a digital way steadfastly. That ‘digital way” is moving those who practice it to a new paradigm shift smoothly. Perhaps there is more than one road to lead the digital way, and there are many best practices and next practices to experiment and enforce digital shift. It’s important to enhance collective communication via deep listening practices; get teams off on the right foot via the team inception practices, and make continuous improvement via peer-based feedforward practices. The business today just have to navigate “VUCA” digital new normal and walk the digital way steadfastly.

Digital CIOs have to be the Insightful thinkers, creative communicators, and strong walkers, act as “Chief Improvement officer,” be effective as both the strategic leader to steer the organization in the right direction and the hands-on manager to dive into technical know-how, and drive IT with the right speed. They should have a leg in both the business and IT world and take all those important walks for getting digital ready.


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