Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Autonomy, Alignment, and Acceleration of Digital IT Organization

It is the multifaceted effort for running digital IT,  broaden IT outlook and envision the bigger picture of digitalization, re-imagine the art of possible.

With the exponential growth of information and ever-fast changes, great opportunity, danger, digital convenience, and disruption are around every corner. With emerging digital technologies, the territories between functions, companies, and industries are blurring, or converged, IT is the linchpin for integrating the business as a whole and running a hyperconnected digital organization. IT also has to take the step-wise approach to reinvent itself from a cost center to a strategic business partner through autonomy, alignment, and acceleration.

Autonomy: Running an autonomous organization is to improve business efficiency, productivity, responsiveness, and flexibility. The high degree of autonomy is the symbol of digital maturity. Many IT organizations spend the significant amount of time on maintaining systems and tools to “keep the lights on.” It is understandable that the effective CIOs need to take care of chronic operational issues to stop the pain and deliver requested upgraded and technical solutions. With high IT autonomy, they can spend more time on innovation-oriented activities to improve the top line business value. Autonomy can be achieved via system automation, team self-management, and interdisciplinary digital practices. The goal is to make hierarchical business systems adaptive so that they can respond to challenges of a hyperconnected and interdependent world so change can be orchestrated at all levels of the organization. The point is that change never ends with increasing pace, thus, digital organizations simply cannot stand still, they need to be like the self-driving vehicle to catch up with the speed of change; they should also like the living systems, keep growing, otherwise, they would become irrelevant sooner or later

Alignment: Digital IT organizations need to move alignment to the next level - from reluctant IT-business alignment for filling the gap to proactive IT- customer alignment for achieving people centricity. Communication and collaboration gaps are the persistent and pervasive problem that demands an ongoing process/capability alignment to ensure that IT and business need to be integrated seamlessly to ensure running a holistic digital business. IT has two sets of customers: internal customers and end customers. To move further, IT needs to not only empower and engage internal users with efficient tools and platforms for enforcing communication and collaboration; IT should do more about aligning with end customers, understanding their pains and needs, digitizing touch point of customer experience, and making the direct impact on the top line business growth. By aligning the outside view with the inside view, can you understand the needs of people but also the channels needed to support them? IT credibility is not just based on the business alignment of the CIO, it's based on the business alignment of all the key players in the IT organization...or lack thereof.

Acceleration: Many IT organizations are still perceived as the controller, lagging behind the change curve. Forward-thinking companies across industries empower their IT leading change and digitalization because organizations today rely more and more on information and technology; IT has a lot of things on their plate for spinning at the right speed. With lightweight and powerful digital technologies, businesses expect the consumerization style responsiveness from IT to achieve strategic responsiveness and business flexibility. Speed matters for building dynamic business capabilities and gaining differentiated organizational competency. To lead the digital paradigm shift, IT needs to ride the learning curve ahead of the rest of the company; but it should also be steady and keep the business vehicle running smoothly. To accelerate, it means to break down silo mentality, update bureaucratic management style, overcome change inertia, eliminate waste or redundancy, discourage internal politics, so digital organizations can be vibrant, highly responsive, and highly innovative for adapting to the ever-evolving business dynamic.

Digital CIOs are the business conductor for leading changes. It is the multifaceted effort for running digital IT,  broaden IT outlook and envision the bigger picture of digitalization, re-imagine the art of possible and maximize the digital potential of running the high performance and high-mature digital organization.


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