Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Broader, Deeper, and Bolder - How to Run a Highly Impactful Digital IT Organization

IT needs to proactively work as an integral part of the business to capitalize on the opportunity and tackling challenges for leading the digital transformation confidently.

Information is the lifeblood of the modern business and technology is the disruptive force behind the digital transformation. Nowadays IT has a lot of things to leverage. Forward-looking businesses empower their IT organizations to lead changes and catalyze innovation. IT and business need to develop a true partnership and work to pursue the desired outcomes. To be the strategic business partner and make the high business impact, contemporary IT organization should become broader, deeper, and bolder in order to drive change and lead the digital paradigm shift seamlessly.

Broader: IT management is not just the business of the IT department, it’s the responsibility of the entire company. Often, overly narrowed IT management is one of the big pitfalls to improve IT management maturity. IT needs to build all different management capabilities and play a different role for the situation at hand. The breadth of IT management should include people (skills and capability), process (workflow, process effectiveness, and efficiency), capability portfolio, organizational structure design, and technology update. IT is not a function that can be handled only in the IT department or by IT managers only, what should be focused on is how to integrate IT into business decisions and processes. IT needs to get full support from the top management in order to break down silos and take the holistic management approach. Otherwise, they do not have authority and mechanism to collect sufficient information needed to provide the invaluable business insight. To go broader, IT leaders need to manage multi-layer business relationships, such as the business peer/shareholder relationship, customer relationship, and vendor relationship, etc. They should also harness multi-channel communications by tailoring different audiences and build up the long-term business partnership. From IT leadership and management perspective, it’s not sufficient for CIOs to act as the tactical IT managers only, they need to be the business strategists and change agents. It’s great to see more IT managers breaking out of IT vacuum, advocating digitalization and marketing IT at all level of the organization help to demonstrate IT value and engage those who can help to achieve common business goals.

Deeper: Information is permeating into every corner of the business, and digital technology makes a profound impact on the organizational design and business management. In fact, IT is in a unique position to look at the business at a profound level - the business information and processes management cycle. IT should get a deeper understanding of issues facing business today, identify opportunities for growth and spot pitfalls for preventing risks. Digitalization is never just about the pretty interface or a few fancy gadgets. Digital CIOs play the sophisticated leadership role, they need to think deeper, initiate profound communication with businesses, and take a systematic approach for managing one of the most invaluable business assets - information, as well as one of the most intelligent groups of talented people - IT professionals effectively. IT needs to permeating into the business functions and ecosystem, and invite customers and partners to provide feedback. IT and business should enforce profound communication and build the strategic partnership. Without the profound partnership, many organizations are not foresightful to empower their IT leaders or lack of in-depth understanding of IT capability, technology complexity or innovative potential. It all requires profound leadership and cohesive management practices.

Bolder: Digital IT needs to reinvent its reputation from a controller to a business enabler, change agent and innovation engine. The highly innovative IT organizations depend more heavily on its technological knowledge and IT-enabled capabilities to develop and commercialize innovation. Running bolder IT means that IT leaders and staff are equipped with the advanced mindset who can think a few steps further than their business peers, and work with business counterparts collaboratively in a value-oriented manner to drive changes instead of reacting to changes; inspire creativity and advance the business to reach the pinnacle of the next business growth cycle. Practicing the bold IT leadership means that CIOs need to think strategically and creatively about the IT value proposition, work closely with the business, and share the technological vision. If IT leaders can innovate across the business, regardless of which function you are involved in, and then, you can surely change the shape of what you deliver, not just how it’s delivered. IT is like the whole brain of the business; digital IT leaders shouldn’t classify creativity and logic in two completely different disciplines, they are interconnected and multidisciplinary. Innovation is the sustainable and scalable way that can be learned and practiced. The best point of view is to see innovation as a system, capable of delivering organization-wide capabilities.

Go broader, deeper, and bolder. IT is at an inflection point to lead the organizational level digital transformation. IT needs to proactively work as an integral part of the business to capitalize on the opportunity and tackling challenges for leading the digital transformation confidently.


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