Saturday, January 13, 2018

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 11 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Integration Officer”

A high-mature digital ready IT organization is a threshold business competency and the catalyzer of digital innovation. 

Traditional IT organizations are often seen as one of the weakest links in the company. To close the gaps and enforce the business-IT relationship, the CIO as the “Chief Integration Officer” needs to know how to play a bridge between what businesses understand and what technology understands. The highly effective corporations need to embed the power of information in its fiber to ensure IT is an integral part the business to build the differentiated business competency. And IT can truly become the digital integrator, accelerator, innovator and trusted business partner.

Running a “super glue” digital IT: It is not sufficient for IT o be just the service provider or the support center only. The IT-business gap is enlarged when the two parties speak different languages and set different priorities. IT is in the unique position to oversee changes and gain in-depth and technique know-how understanding. IT needs to become the superglue for creating “integrated whole.” Digital IT is also like the spinal cord for the organization to integrate various functional capabilities into business competencies and bring out technology-enabled business solutions. IT has to deliver the competitive capability to the business as many businesses will plateau without IT. Running superglue IT means it has to keep consolidating, modernizing, integrating, and innovating in terms of optimizing inner processes, its interactions with external systems, its components, the specific interactions amongst them.

Strengthening the weakest links in digitalization:
Hyperconnectivity is one of the most critical digital characteristics. It is important to understand that digital business development is a multifaceted and holistic management discipline. There are still multiple gaps existing between business and IT, between strategy and execution, and between management and governance. To close the gaps and compete at digital speed, IT is shifting from a builder to an integrator, from a plumber to an orchestrator; from an order taker to a business advisor. IT management philosophy is also shifting from “built to last” to “wired to change.” Integration becomes the key step in building solid IT-enabled business competency. The successful integration will depend on the underlying business relationships between all of these points and how they influence each other. Through quality integration, the enterprise is easily combined with assets for orchestrating high-performing businesses.

Developing good business relationships for running a frictionless IT: A good relationship between business and IT becomes visible by clearly defining tasks, authorities, and responsibilities to manage both opportunities and risks accordingly. In the digital era with the exponential growth of information and consumerized technologies, businesses need to understand not only the power and the opportunity information could bring in, but also the potential risks the business might get exposed to. CIOs need to do a thorough analysis of IT activities, programs, and policies in terms of IT contribution in maximizing shareholders’ benefit, cost optimization, innovation, etc, build a healthy IT portfolio which has a direct link with business benefit and customer satisfaction. And IT can work as the strategic business partner both on the business and in the business, not just for the business.

A high-mature digital ready IT organization is a threshold business competency and the catalyzer of digital innovation. In practice, digital IT playbook is not for the faint of heart, CIOs have to rise above the status quo, and take on a new set of activities to run IT innovatively and proactively.


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