Friday, December 29, 2017

The Digital CIO’s Three “ALWAYS” to Make IT COOL again and Get Digital Ready

ALWAYS, ensure doing the right things before doing them right. 

Traditional IT organizations are often perceived as the cost center or support function only. Although technology is more often than not, the disruptive force for business and industry innovation, IT organizations seem to have a tendency to align with the slow changing parts of the organization. With continuous digital disruptions and exponential growth of information, the business needs IT to deliver services or solutions that drive business productivity and effectiveness, the business also needs IT to provide better information to achieve improved profitability and build the organizational competency. In reality, different companies evolve digital with varying speed, how do you view the role of your IT organization today? Is it a service provider, a solution provider, or a game changer? How can CIOs make IT cool again to get digital ready?

ALWAYS on the lookout for ways to improve and innovate: IT leaders have the multitude of responsibilities. Running IT to provide commodity IT services is not sufficient for survival and thriving at today’s dynamic with fierce competition and increasing pace of change. IT should automate more to support better; IT is also a trendsetter for leading digital innovation and transformation. Thus, IT has to discover its own strength, find its niche, and build a set of core, and recombinant capabilities in order to become cool and more competitive. An effective CIO’s job is to improve operations to reduce the burden on the company while trying to stay current with ever-changing technologies. The digital CIO has to look forward and actively position the IT organization in the right place to take full advantage of opportunities and manage IT in a structural way. IT needs to run as a business, buy what you need, use it the fullest, and ensure that IT can lead to the design of products and services that actually create a return. So, the biggest challenge 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 implementing the disruptive opportunities that are constantly emerging. To put briefly, CIOs ALWAYS on the lookout for ways to improve, do more with innovation, and shape a cool organization to get digital ready.

ALWAYS keep the end in mind: 
Digital means exponential growth of information and the abundance of knowledge. Still, either information or technology is the means to the end, not the end, what is the end? The end means the more mature, value-driven, and high-performance business. That means business leaders, including CIOs, need to understand not only the power and the opportunity information & technology could bring in, but also the potential risks they might get exposed to. Therefore, IT leaders must understand the revenue model and understand how IT supports that model and transform IT from a cost center to an innovation engine and value creator. A good relationship between business and IT becomes visible by clearly defining tasks, authorities, and responsibilities to manage both opportunities and risks accordingly. Technology abundance is not for its own sake, but to solve either business problems or human challenge. The seamless rhythm of IT- business integration combined with the process maturity to ensure ROI, information consistency, reliability, and interoperability remains the goal of IT. So, ALWAYS keep the end in mind, not just playing cool gadgets, but running the cool business.

ALWAYS care about 'the people' with empathy: Traditional IT is process driven, but digital IT should be people-centric. IT needs to be run as a people-centric organization to enchant customers, empower employees, evolve business partners, and engage shareholders for feedback, and ensure the right people getting the right information at the right time to make the right decisions. The type of business where the relationship might be a make or break situation is generally where you rely on someone's expertise, you spend extended periods of time with the person, or you build partner-relationship for mutual benefit. Employees do not appreciate being referred to as assets or resources; therefore, empathetic relationships in business need to be considered in a different context. Traditional IT organizations focus on IT and business alignment, digital IT goes a step further and moves up to IT and business integration as well as IT and customer alignment. IT should both satisfy internal users to improve employee engagement and productivity, but also put effort on digitizing every touch point of client experience for end customers. Therefore, ALWAYs care about people, either employees or customers with empathy, to connect the minds and delight them in the right way.

Today's digital environment blurs the borderline of functions, organizations, and even industries. IT, like the nervous system of the business, touches both hard business processes and soft human behaviors. ALWAYS, ensure doing the right things before doing them right, IT has the magic power to integrate all important business elements into differentiated business competency, and run the cool business to get digital ready.


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