Sunday, September 16, 2018

Running a Nimbler IT Organization

To run a nimbler IT organization, CIOs should share their technological vision with the business and tilt IT in the digital mode. 

With fast-paced changes and continuous disruptions, with the trend is that the advances of digital technologies provide an abundance of opportunities, the biggest challenge to business success is information and technology, and the biggest challenge for IT success is to understand the business and customers’ expectation. It’s the time for IT to break through the out-of-date perception as the cost center, CIOs need to seize the opportunity to run a nimbler IT organization for leading changes and carrying out its business for getting digital ready.

Keep IT nimbler with continuous IT investment: To adapt to the increasing speed of changes, organizations have to become nimbler about updating technology and managing information effectively, in order to respond to change promptly and meet the customers’ need timely. More and more businesses expect the consumerization style responsiveness from IT, the digital dynamic is where the digital disruption threatens to tear down legacy systems. The overly rigid process is an outcome of applying rigid process approaches where they don't belong, and IT systems errors will cause revenue leakage and damage the business's reputation. It takes a strong CIO to convince management for maintaining that nimble state. From an investment perspective, advanced technologies are really good and more helpful to keep IT nimbler and drive business demands. IT efficiency and effectiveness is an ever-evolving state and sometimes it takes larger and not incremental investments to reach desired positions. Unfortunately, many executives see that once IT reaches that state of "can do it," they want to start to milk the process but stop the IT investment. Running a highly responsive IT needs to get support from front desks to boardrooms, IT needs to get the top leadership sponsorship and understanding and continuing investing and evolving for improving business competency. When the corporate organization invests in information technology resources, it entrusts the IT organization with the stewardship of that considerable investment and the responsibility of providing effective management and operation of that investment.

Digital IT needs to become nimbler for change, to improve business responsiveness: If you look at a company as a collection of subsystems with integrated business elements, the degree of business responsiveness depends on how those subsystems interact with each other, and those interactions can be structural, technical, informational, or human. Running a high-responsive IT organization should have the adaptability to meet the business’s expectation and possess the flexibility to tailor varying business circumstances by taking different approaches. The reality is that organizations that do not respond to external environmental changes will become irrelevant, as nimber and adaptable companies take their market shares and customers. Therefore, IT organizations need to have strategic responsiveness to process business information almost real-time, communicate and collaborate with business counterparts timely. CIOs are in the right position to set good policies to ensure information and technology accessibility, responsiveness, and reliability. In practice, you cannot run a nimbler digital business without "de-complexitizing," or "de-bureaucracy," it’s the journey for IT to keep consolidation, modernization, integration, and innovation for improving its nimbleness and performance, also help to improve the overall business responsiveness and results.

Digital IT needs to be an integral part of the business planning and budget processes to be a nimble business partner: In many traditional organizations, IT was still run as an isolated function or a support desk only. IT has been treated as the backroom and business comes to them only when they need them. However, organizations today face unprecedented uncertainty due to the increasing speed of changes and overwhelming growth of information. Forward-thinking companies across the industry sectors empower IT and treat IT as their trustful partner and often engage them in situations of even no real technologies need in a short time. The best business solutions emerge that leverage IT to the most. IT is not just the business of IT, but of the entire company. Hence, companies must build adaptability to rewire itself when necessary to fit the circumstances. From the IT management perspective, digital IT needs to be an integral part of the strategic business planning and budget processes, in order to become the nimbler business partner. With fierce business competitions and emerging on-demand service models, more and more of the budget is being allocated to the departmental heads and that they are being given or demanding the option to spend this money at their own discretion. Thus, IT is facing pressure to prove that they are the most effective route and also the growth engine of the business. The CIO should have a clear understanding of the revenue drivers and business models. They need to keep discovering ways to move up the stack and provide innovation value of the business, not just “keeping the lights on” as a cost center.

To run a nimbler IT organization, CIOs should share their technological vision with the business and tilt IT in the digital mode, laser focus on improving its responsiveness and flexibility. IT should ride above of the change curve ahead of the other parts of the company, build differentiated business competency, nurture a culture of learning and innovation, and fine-tune organizational structures and processes to get digital ready.


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