Monday, April 30, 2018

The Best Practices to Shape the Digital Fitness of IT

Running IT takes an interdisciplinary approach and keeping IT fit is a systematic approach.

Information and technology nowadays make the impact on every aspect of the business, IT can no longer just be about numbers and algorithms; it has an opportunity to be a significant catalyst for business growth and a tool for encouraging questing and connecting the innovation dots. In the face of vast areas of uncertainty and unprecedented complexity, it is important for IT leaders to address both the tactical practices of getting the work done and the soft business factors associated with the digital paradigm shift that must take place within the organization at all levels in order to keep digital fit and go digital systematically.

Shape IT “cognitive fitness”: We live in an era of abundance of information. Managing information and knowledge becomes more critical than ever in the digital era. However, either at the individual or business level, people often cannot digest the overwhelmed information smoothly and the organization cannot take advantage of information seamlessly. Thus, IT plays a crucial role in processing and refining information to create business value from it. Information is the gold when it has been used to make an informed management decision to develop the right product, enter a new market, exploit a new channel or have the information to be able to conduct day to day operations which have an output value etc. Besides people, information is the most invaluable asset to businesses today. The static and siloed information/knowledge approach is too slow to adapt to the changes and dealing with exponential information growth. To shape “cognitive fitness” of the company, you have to know how to swim more effortlessly in the sea of information, deal with it intellectually, different information is required at different points in decisions and operational delivery chain. IT should help the organization harness and understand the information to capture the real-time business insight, provide ways to better recognize and act on that information for gaining competitive advantage. This requires a holistic look at the entire knowledge environment and identifies how the information management initiative aligns with the company or business unit objectives, to improve communication, collaboration, and overall organizational maturity.

Leverage creativity: Besides technical or analytical side of IT, CIOs have to maximize what you can accomplish through creative leverage of your talent pool and build business competency. IT is like the fertilizer to make innovation happen, not through serendipity, but through scientific management. CIOs with technology awareness understand how to capture the digital technology trend and well apply the right technology to the business with an innovative solution to keep digital fit. Quick-fixing the handy issues is necessary to build a good IT reputation. But to reinvent IT as the trustful business partner, IT management needs to be in the continuous tuning mode through modernization, integration, and innovation. A CIO’s vision should be attainable subject to current times and its ability to adapt to changing times, connect the wider dots for innovating and help the business gain a competitive advantage for the long term. The business objective of IT shouldn’t only work on the initiatives which you have staff, it’s important to ride learning curves, provide the right kind of incentives to inspire creativity and amplify innovation effect. CIOs need to be open-minded for figuring out better ways to solve problems and keep an eye open for signs of things you don’t know about and make the necessary strategic adjustment for adapting to the ever-changing business dynamic.

Substantiate ROI: To keep the digital fit, define how you will measure IT success in meeting the business purpose and vision. CIOs need to keep a measure and periodicity at which the measure is reviewed against setting targets. Ensure that these measures are quantitative, and implement whatever mechanisms you need to be able to gather the data. IT metrics has to evolve from being a cost center to becoming a revenue generator. The only way to do this is to show a clear link to top executives between IT efficiency and productivity/ top-line revenues. Contextually, the measurement method is to persuade management about the progress of strategy execution. Senior managers need to own process within their area with the CIO office facilitating the end to end business process mapping, assisting in defining appropriate owners and handoff points across the business. Continually accelerating changes and unlocking performance in IT consumption and production requires faster responses and better performance metrics. It’s dangerous to impose metrics just because the focus on what’s measurable is manageable. The measures should motivate teams to achieve more, not to distract management from the ultimate business goals. Performance metrics drive priorities and behaviors, therefore, performance indicator setting should focus on achieving the ultimate goals of business as a whole. This is an important step to building IT reputation as a strategic business partner.

Running IT takes an interdisciplinary approach and keeping IT fit is a systematic approach. The reality is that business leaders need digital acumen as much as financial acumen, psychological knowledge as well as business insight and technology knowledge, doing its best to see that the application of IT brings the best business results. IT is the business.


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