Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Digital CIO as the Gap Minding Role

CIOs are the gap-minding role as IT is in a unique position to oversee underlying business functions and structures. IT leaders have to look at things from different angles.

Nowadays, information is permeating into every corner of the business and technology is often the disruptive force of digitalization. The CIO is not a static management role, but a dynamic leadership role due to the changing nature of technology and the overwhelming growth of information. Especially now more and more enterprises are leveraging IT for revenue-generating initiatives. The IT leader of the future and the exemplars of today must move away from pure IT manager, and become a trustful business partner and an insightful strategist to bridge the gap between IT and business, and between the industrial age and the digital era, The important component of IT leadership success has to do with the definition or scope of the role that the CIO is playing and the profundity of IT leadership influence.

A wide look:
Taking a wide look around at what's going on outside the organization and how it might affect the organization via an environmental scan, and identify opportunities and threats periodically. A smart information management system can refine information to abstract business insight, capture marketing trends, and read digital sentiment fluently. By capturing the trends, you're asking the organization to look at what's happening now and what's coming down the pike so they can be proactive in preparing for it. To effectively respond to the digital dynamics, companies must begin thinking about ways with strategic planning to broaden their ecosystems and revenue streams while becoming more responsive and scalable. However, for many businesses, ecosystems have evolved without much attention or planning. With the fast pace of changes and fierce competition, the dynamic digital normality really forces them to do an environmental scan, pay attention to how things are changing and then think about what they might need to change to respond to the trends. The most successful organizations have a very clear vision and understanding of why they exist and the value they bring to customers and the very reason for digitalization. Today’s technology enables companies to leverage their various environments, or ecosystems, to chase innovation and accelerate performance. An open information platform blurs functional, geographical, or even industrial borders, enables companies to integrate the critical components of a smart platform, which is “open” not only because it allows information exchange, idea flow, and participant involvement but also because it ensures that interdependencies and loyalties between partners are taken into account and build up a strong innovation engine. Organizations can easily invite their business partners or customers to participate in strategic conversations and provide invaluable feedback on how to run a high-effective digital organization.

A deep look:
Taking a hard look at what's going on inside the organization, including its strengths and weaknesses (perhaps doing a SWOT analysis) - analyze Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities Threats in their digital environment. The digital world is complex and uncertain, hyper-connected and interdependent, the world boundaries close in, the business weaknesses and strengths are inseparable, opportunities are tightly mingled with threats and vice versa. Thus, SWOT analysis needs to be in the IT leader’s toolbox. IT is increasingly supportive of the competitive position and the business. In general, careful consideration must be made about which knowledge or capabilities have to be secured. Discover IT strength and unique competency. Strength often doubles up on strengths and threats often double up on threats. From a strategic perspective: Where is the organization on the technology or process adoption curve? Is the organization a pioneer, mature adapter, or laggard? What are the risks of taking strategic initiatives? How much risk are you personally willing to take? If CIOs are not able to make any dent in the executive board, and then IT is just acting in the reactive mode, their proactive solutions will not get enough traction in most cases.

An objective look: As the gap-minding role, digital CIOs should have know-how attitude about the business and strengthen IT as a business partner. Take an objective look at the relationship between IT and business: Is the gap enlarged or shrunk? Often business and IT have evolved digital at a different pace. In some cases, businesses still do not wish to learn about enterprise IT or deal with the IT department. Nevertheless, technology intricacies are increasingly hidden by smart interfaces that make possible for its direct operation and management by business people, avoiding as such as the IT department involvement. In other cases, IT still does not care much about the many types of business processes and methods. The key point is to take an objective look, enforce cross-functional communication and collaboration to bridge IT-business gaps. CIOs are able to demonstrate the full reasoning behind the proposal, in order to shift to proactive mode smoothly; and that needs a strong team, a full understanding of the business and how IT underpins all elements of it.

There are few business units that are as deeply embedded in each corporate function as IT. Therefore, CIOs are the gap-minding role as IT is in a unique position to oversee underlying business functions and structures. IT leaders have to look at things from all different angles: Think inside the box - what can you do in the short term; shape the new box of thinking - what can you do in the long term; leverage IT unique knowledge, and use this knowledge to uncover hidden value, not only within IT but benefit the entire organization.


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