Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Three “C” Management Disciplines to Improve IT Maturity

The digital CIO needs to master both hard and soft management disciplines, maintain a clear and efficient bottom line, but also push hard enough to drive business growth.

Although information and technology make an impact on every dimension of the business, and IT plays a crucial role in catalyzing innovation and orchestrating digitalization. Based on the fact that most IT organizations still get stuck at the lower level of maturity, struggle to align with the business and take orders from customers reactively. It is important to enforce the multitude of management disciplines, take considerations and work on activities that need to be addressed to enhance IT-business relationship and improve the overall IT maturity.

Communication management: Closing gaps between IT and business is still one of the biggest challenges IT leaders need to overcome. To improve IT maturity, CIOs should be an insightful business leader and empathic communicator, be able to effectively communicate the importance of delivering to business expectations vs. requirements. IT has to enforce cross-functional communication and continue working together with businesses to find out what they need and develop tailored business solutions side by side. Without effective communication management, the “lost in translation” syndromes will further cause silo thinking and decelerate business performance. To make IT as a trustful business partner, the CIO needs to understand stakeholders' expectations and propose a service/solution portfolio that focuses on business priority and build unique business competency. Many forward-looking organizations invite their IT leaders to the big table, having an open dialogue with other C-suite members to envision the business via the technological lens and convey a clear message of IT as a differentiated business advantage. It is also important for IT leaders to collect the business feedback regarding their expectation of IT. Only through two-way communications, the business will come to have a better understanding of the contribution that IT function makes and empowers IT to take initiatives for leading changes and driving digital transformation. And IT can build a strong reputation as the trustful business partner.

Change management:
Digital is all about changes, and change is multifaceted with increasing speed and velocity. Organizations today are living in the digital sea, you have to change with the "tide.” Traditional IT organizations have been perceived as the change laggard, with controlling mentality. Embracing change and digitalization is inevitable as that is now part of the reality. In order to lead change and drive digital transformation, IT should ride above of change curves ahead of the other parts of the company. In fact, many IT organizations have been left to run change projects, to have a good understanding from a strategic perspective of the organization (structure, processes, locations, drivers, objectives, goals, applications, data, technologies.) Because organizational change becomes a common practice within an organization, it needs to be treated as a strategic management capability. IT is a key ingredient and linchpin in building changeability of the business and integrating Change Management into the strategic level business processes and practices, and ultimately build change as a strategic management capability to reach its full advantage. Organizational change management has a strong role in business transformation, benefits realization, and strategy execution. Change Management shouldn’t be just another isolated business initiative piled up with so many other things the management team should deal with. A comprehensive IT Change Management roadmap can guide through business transformation by involving the entire organization in major change efforts that support key business strategies. It is important to have a focused view of competitors, changing situations, alternative solutions and Change Management approaches.

Competency management: It is not sufficient to run IT as a commodity service provider only to deal with "VUCA" digital new normal. Organizations rely more and more on technology; the IT department has more and more to offer, also has more obstacles to overcome. IT organizations encounter many distractions stopping them from laser focusing on achieving strategic goals. Many IT organizations suffer from overloaded tasks and overwhelming information. A clear understanding what services or solutions are supporting your competitive advantage is a strategic imperative. IT has to both build operational competency to improve the business efficiency and strategic competency to become the competitive business differentiator. When IT is refined to the point that they are nimble, can adapt to changing business demands in a timely fashion, and it can be reapplied to altering business priorities and be effective with little down curve, IT is on the right track to achieve high-level operational competency. IT should spend more resources on crafting unique business capabilities and capturing business growth opportunities. When IT executives move beyond commodity management and begin to show higher level strategic value and dedicate more resources on innovation and building business competency systematically, IT is on the right track to craft strategic competency, accelerate its performance and unlock the business potential.

The digital CIO needs to master both hard and soft management disciplines, maintain a clear and efficient bottom line, but also push hard enough to drive business growth. Because this dimension allows the business to leverage information and apply technology to pour more on the top line, shift from IT-business alignment to IT-customer alignment. The payoff is to build the long-term business competency, achieve high-performance business results, unleash the full business potential, and improve IT and business maturity.


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