Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The CIOs as Chief Insight Officer: How Can IT Win the Mind of the Business

Running digital IT needs to work cross boxes instead of within the box, to win the minds and touch the minds.

Forward-looking IT leaders work hard to reinvent IT as the change agent and the innovation hub of the company to win the mind of the business and the heart of customers. CIOs must have self-awareness and keep checking IT performance and maturity via asking the following questions: How should IT help the company win business? How can IT break down “We always do things like that” mentality, and take initiatives to invent the future? How to bridge IT-business gap and run IT as a trustful business partner? How to mind talent gap for rejuvenating IT to get digital ready? And how can IT contribute to customer acquisition and retention?

IT can help to nail down and fix the business’s pain points before they know themselves: IT needs to engage with the business units to find out what the pain points are and to identify opportunities for developing new services or improving/optimizing current ones. First, ask leaders and managers about the vision and business problems they are trying to solve. The business perhaps only points out the symptoms, IT is in the unique position to truly dive into the processes underneath for diagnosing the root cause of the problems. There needs to be a comprehensive audit of the business, to ferret out the problem areas, not just symptoms, but the real issues. Effective IT management means understanding every island of business operation and every important workflow process. It is through this comprehensive business understanding that a CIO would be able to identify true cost savings, pinpoint real problems, implement workflow optimizations, and identify additional revenue opportunities. There should also have strong interactions between operations leaders and IT leaders and their teams with feedback mechanisms and willingness to find solutions that can support both the business need and build any ROI required to justify the business case. Doing so demands quality time spent with sales/marketing, operations, finance leaders and even end customers, to keep integrating, engaging, optimizing, and accelerating IT to reach the high level of business maturity.

IT can empower people with the right information and help the business make better judgments at the decision points: The essence of Information Management is to ensure right people getting the right information with the right format at the right time to make the right decisions. The digital CIO has to foresee, anticipate business needs for information and then prepare, refine, and gear up the information systems to not only make pertinent information to business decision makers but also preempt the need and present the multidimensional business value accordingly. Digital CIOs need to focus on the information aspect of the role in the context of the business. One of the biggest challenges for CIOs is keeping up and stepping up, recognizing the responsibility for ensuring that the business is better informed than competitors and more nimble at building dynamic business capabilities to embrace the disruptive opportunities that are constantly emerging. To win the minds and gain the hearts, IT leaders also should enforce communication and peer relationship with other CXOs, bring unique business insight, so that IT can meet the business’s need on time, eliminate delayed or missed business opportunities and solutions.

IT can digitize the touch points of the customer experiences: Digital is the age of people. IT has both internal customers and end customers. IT needs to empower internal customers with efficient tools to improve productivity and staff engagement. New technology tools and business models allow a company to capture end customer information on a continual basis, collect valuable information about customers in real time and get that to the right teams inside your company, to digitize every touch point of the customer experiences. Customer-centric organizations deploy a range of technologies that focus purely on improving the customer's experience and perception of business services, showing the customer that you are making the significant investment on delivering the products or services meeting their need. The hard technology and fluid information can create soft touch to both gain the heart and win the mind, to make people feel better about themselves. As the old saying goes,"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

The command and control style of IT is no longer fit for the digital new normal with fierce competitions and consumerized technologies. A CIO can't just sit back and apply yesterday’s techniques to today's problems. IT should be highly available and efficient internally that It can take minimum time to market. Running digital IT needs to work cross boxes instead of within the box, to win the minds and touch the minds. The key is engagement with the business and do more with innovation.


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