Thursday, September 6, 2018

Can CIOs Become Digital Catalyst

The CIO as the digital catalyst is about having the right blend of leadership skills, business insight, and technical knowledge, to keep the digital tempo for creating the business synergy.

With faster-paced changes, the exponential growth of information, and continuous disruptions often caused by technologies, the businesses are looking to IT for leadership around the competitive application of information & technology in a rapidly changing market. The role of modern CIO as the digital catalyst is to identify and blend the ways that information and technology can assist and shape the high-performance business by linking all digital aspects together to create business synergy.

Digital IT leaders need to set a higher standard, not just about achieving business effectiveness or efficiency:
To become the strategic business partner, CIOs need to understand what the organization’s expectation from IT through business innovation lens. They must look into opportunities for the business and then see what IT can do to improve the business revenue growth and catalyze the digital transformation. Further, when they are looking at creating digital options, it’s about giving the organization abilities to explore new business models, and then it is not just the value of the investment which matters, rather; it is the breadth of vision and the depth of business insight. IT helps to manage one of the most invaluable business assets - data, and refines it into the real-time business insight; provides ways to better recognize and act on that information for gaining the business competitive advantage and expand the horizon for changes. Thus, running a digital IT organization is not just about improving business effectiveness or efficiency; IT leaders should set a high standard and takes the further steps in leading changes, catalyzing innovation, and driving digitalization; focus on building knowledge to gain business insight, not just having the knowledge. Making a digital leap is not for the fainted heart, digital CIOs need to have the right dose of risk appetite and good risk management skills to make a seamless digital paradigm shift.

Managing and utilizing IT budget for achieving better Return on Investment: Organizations only have limited IT budget. Effectively IT exists within a business to increase revenue, reduce costs, improve products or services, manage/mitigate risks and assist with statutory/corporate compliance. Like any other business initiatives from another part of the company, developing a compelling strategic business case is especially critical when an initiative is difficult to monetize. That is about how to attach believable dollar values to identified business benefit flows. To reinvent IT reputation from a cost center to a revenue generator, every technology adopted must facilitate the business growth but also bring down the incremental cost of growth and time to market. The digital CIOs are not only enthusiastic digital catalysts but also cool-headed business executives who can play the number game wisely by setting key performance indicators, managing budgets, and achieving SLAs. If the focus is on IT as a value proposition rather than a cost center, leading changes rather than just a controller, and then, the CIO can be considered as a successful digital catalyst.

The qualified result is more important than quantified measurement: Assuming an organization believes that metrics can lead to continuous improvement or even make a leap of digital transformation. It is important to measure and validate ROIs, to be as comprehensive as possible in monetizing costs flows, identifying and tracing through the matter by which IT impacts both the business bottom line and top-line business growth. Keep in mind, often, the qualified result is more important than quantified measurement. Having too many metrics focused outcomes means the CIO might spend too much time measuring and trying to quantify the benefits. In organizations, the Key Performance Indicators that have been set for each CxO, need to be measured effectively, but without dwelling too much on this issue, as there are conflicting KPIs between CxOs. From IT measurement perspective, how you measure IT performance directly impact on how you manage IT in the right way for meeting the business goals and unleashing IT potential. The CIO as the business executive needs to ponder, for example: Where IT shows all lights on, and yet the business is stalled or innovation has slowed or production cost is too high. IT organizations deliver value, that the value is sometimes within a context, and difficult to quantify. Thus, it’s important to build the culture of measurement, but it’s also critical for the CIO as the digital catalyst to advocate the digital principle: The qualified result is more important than quantified measurement.

IT organizations have come a long way from being the pure technical specialist to being the trustful strategic partner for achieving the business growth and transformation. The CIO as the digital catalyst is about having the right blend of leadership skills, business insight, and technical knowledge, to keep the digital tempo for creating the business synergy and accelerating the digital transformation.


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