Thursday, July 26, 2018

Systemizing, Synchronizing, and Harmonizing Digital IT Organization

Digital IT is no longer an isolated support function. IT should be integral to and knowledgeable of the business, aligned with enterprise objectives, as an enabler, a facilitator, and a digital conductor.

Running at digital speed with unprecedented convenience brought by digital technologies, people tend to have the high expectation of information flow, very little patience with technology issues. Thus, IT has a lot of challenges to overcome nowadays. From the business perspective, due to the accelerating speed of business change and “disruptive” nature of digital technology, the business relies more and more on information & technology, IT leaders should keep shaping the digital mindset and re-imagine their leadership influence and effectiveness. IT organization has to continually reinvent itself to adapt to changes, getting digital ready by systemizing, synchronizing, and harmonizing.

Systemizing IT: Running digital IT is both art and science. The art of IT is doing more with innovation; manage innovation as a systematic process to solve either existing problems or emerging problems creatively. The science of IT is about how to enforce the multidisciplinary engineering disciplines which include strategic and tactical planning, Systems Engineering, product/service design, concurrent engineering, quality engineering, structure/process optimization, portfolio management, and systems ecology, etc. Systemizing IT is also about how to take a structural approach to enhance IT-business relationship, make a seamless IT-business alignment and integration, and keep tuning the underlying business processes in the organization by consolidating, modernizing, integrating, and optimizing. Practicing IT engineering discipline requires IT leaders equipped with a structural mindset which includes the multidimensional thought processes such as logical thinking, analysis & synthesis, critical thinking, systems thinking, and stepwise problem-solving skills. Digital CIOs need to present the “know-how” technical understanding in order to peel back the layers to diagnose the root cause and solve complex business problems systematically. That means, they need to leverage Systems Thinking to understand the interconnectivity between parts and the whole, as well as the interdependence of the digital business ecosystem, know how to break down the large problems into small pieces, and discover how to integrate the small pieces into the holistic perspectives without enlarging the gaps or causing too many side effects.

Synchronizing: Traditional IT organization is often perceived as the controller and change laggard. In order to run a highly responsive and almost real-time digital organization, IT business synchronization is one of the most important aspects for digitizing IT. The business needs to know what IT can deliver and enter a dialogue about what best serves the goals of the business. IT needs to be telling business about the opportunities and possibilities and that means IT needs to really understand the goals of the business and synchronize with strategic business goals. The reality is that organizations that do not respond to external environmental changes will quickly outcompete as more innovative enterprises take their customers. In the real world, even IT has evolved significantly in running the business today, business, often continues to evolve faster in grasping the market share and winning new customers, but often failed, due to lack of the real-time information. Thus, the company should keep empowering their IT organization to lead change, in forward-looking businesses, IT organization has become synonymous with the change department. IT is responsible to manage one of the invaluable business assets - information, refine information to the business foresight and customer insight. The insight-driven digitalization can create the business synchronization of all functions running at the multiple levels of the organization seamlessly.

Harmonizing: Digital organizations are hyperconnected and interdependent, harmonizing IT-business relationship means how to harness cross-functional communication and collaboration. The connection between IT and business lies in using the common language to help business cross that bridge to IT. The faster the business understands that IT is not just technical, but rather business oriented, and then could start better conversations, for enforcing communication in developing a trusted working relationship in solving thorny business problems. From the workforce management perspective, creating a context where people can collaborate where they are empowered and respected and make collective decisions is the essence of the business harmonization. The design of a digital organization will have the significant impact on how performing and considerate the organization is. The effective and delightful digital workplace is in which collaboration and sharing are the norms, learning and creativity are encouraged, silo has been taken down to keep information flow, the decision bottlenecks have been broken down by reducing business tensions, frictions, and conflicts that arise.  The organizational alignment becomes the business “harmony” process to improve business responsiveness, performance, and overall business maturity.

Digital IT is no longer an isolated support function. IT should be integral to and knowledgeable of the business, aligned with enterprise objectives, as an enabler, a facilitator, and a digital conductor. Of course, digital IT leaders should be fully competent to provide on-going support and tactical execution, solve problems and harmonize business relationships, and even thrive to become the catalyzer and game changer.


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