Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The CIO’s Digital Formulas to Guide Digitalization II

 CIOs need to broaden the IT outlook, envision the bigger picture of digital transformation and make "conscious" business choices all the time.

Technology is pervasive and the information is abundant nowadays, business initiatives and digital transformation today nearly always involve some form of technology implementation or information analysis. IT is an engineering discipline, but adding more enriched digital context for the paradigm shift. Can CIOs take the scientific approach, figure out the digital formulas to lead changes, manage IT-business alignment and relationship, optimize processes and leverage design thinking to run a people-centric digital organization?

Change = People + Process + Technology/Tool: With fast-paced changes and business disruptions often driven by technology, IT shouldn’t just react to change, they need to ride learning curve ahead of the rest of the company, and ultimately become the change department of the business. Technically, IT is an integrator to weave all important change elements seamlessly and make people change, process change, and technology change sustainable for the long term. Change Management is a journey, a clear vision, exemplified change leadership, effective communication, logical processes are all the key success factors to overcome challenges and manage changes smoothly. IT leaders/talent also need to possess business skills and change techniques to garner the influence needed to be effective. During the changing scenario, make sure that all staff is aware of the plan/process, timely updated, and responsible for something, establish and enable change management team with efficient methodologies, tools, products; integrate change management into IT portfolio management life cycles, sustain long-term change effort for business transformation. Organizations can make major digital leaps forward by involving the entire organization in major change efforts that support key business strategies. Only if the CIO is proactive and innovative, IT can be run in a proactive mode to become a changing organization in their company.

Design = Start with the end in mind + Non-linear thinking +Outside-in view + Loosen-up: The strategic objective of design thinking is to understand what your customers need and to help the business orient itself towards those needs in pursuit of its objectives. To digitize businesses, it's important to leverage design thinking for improving customer experience. To run a customer-centric organization, IT needs to move up its maturity from functioning to firm to delight. The strategic objective of design thinking is to understand what your customers need and to help the business orient itself towards those needs in pursuit of its objectives. To put another way, more and more of work is less about design in its purity and more focused on holistic and strategic business initiatives. IT leaders with design thinking mindset can leverage the strategic thinking (start with the end in mind) and nonlinear logic, apply outside-in customers’ lens and loosen up the process to run IT in a more creative way. In fact, design thinking is a collection of methodologies. Rather than focus on one method, as a team with broad expertise across a range of disciplines, there are choices of design tools or methods appropriate for managing business initiatives, and customizing tools and methods for the challenge will always yield a more desirable outcome. Design Thinking is not just about wireframes and visual designs. It has a broader scope and you need to think about the brand, long-term business positioning, and rigorous user understanding.

Process = Goal +Management + Procedures + Training + Metrics: The breadth and depth of IT management include people (skills & capability), process ((workflow, process effectiveness & efficiency), organizational structure design, and technology update. The reality in most organizations though is that the process which is forcibly jammed within an existing organizational design. The process management effectiveness and efficiency directly impact strategy management success and business performance.  The goal-driven process is primarily defined prior to process implementation. Strong business processes have a better chance to deliver a better result. Companies are highly dependent on IT executives who make the proposal to optimize the business or replace the technology based on the need for the business. You can only manage what you measure. Measurement is part of process management. The organization that didn’t have a systematic approach to measurement and analysis at both the strategic and operational level has a giant blind spot that is impairing their performance and business effectiveness. The performance measure setting should focus on achieving the ultimate goals of the organization as a whole, not just the individual or the team’s performance. Training is important as well, you need to first define the competencies required to achieve your organizational goals at a technical/functional level, behavioral and attitudinal, core competencies including values, the generic and foundation skills/training that affect all employees and the management and leadership competencies. IT management is not just about managing IT division, IT should get a deep understanding of issues facing businesses today, building transparent problem-solving processes and making continuous improvement.

There is no “one size fits all formula” to run high performance IT organization. Still, CIOs can and should identify patterns, figure out their own set of best and next practices. CIOs need to broaden the IT outlook, envision the bigger picture of digital transformation and make "conscious" business choices all the time. Digitalization is a journey which has to be driven by business insight, catalyzed by innovation, enabled by people and for the people, with the ultimate goal to build a high-intelligent and high-effective digital organization.


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