Friday, October 12, 2018

The CIO’s Three “How”s to Lead Digitalization

Digital organizations are like the living systems that keep growing, adaptive, and renewing. 

Digital makes a significant impact on every aspect of the business both horizontally and vertically. Embracing digital is inevitable as that is now part of the reality. With the exponential growth of information and technology-led disruptions, IT becomes the decisive success factor for the business’s long-term perspective. CIOs as IT leaders should reinvent IT as the change agent, ride above the change curve ahead of the other parts of the company. Here are the CIO’s three “HOW”s to drive changes and lead digitalization.

How to handle the ebbs and flows in digital evolution? Digital transformation represents a break from the past, with a high level of impact and complexity. Digitalization efforts need to be undertaken as the means of getting to a defined different capability to accomplish a defined goal. Otherwise, they cannot have a clear focus. The business rationale is essential to gaining any traction in the journey of digitalization. IT is the linchpin to integrate all important business elements to the differentiated business competency. Thus, CIOs need to be the digital visionaries who can perceive the ebbs and flows in digital evolution, looking uphill and looking deeply into the future; to stay one step ahead of the enterprise leadership team's view of IT-related priorities. They should make a profound influence on where businesses go, and how they get there. They contribute to strategy making and gain an understanding of the unintended consequences of the actions in the future. The toughest part of the strategy is the trade-offs. The more you can front load and truly define the current state, the easier the journey moves ahead. IT and the business need to integrate and act as one in a flowing process, enhance the IT-business relationship through processes of alignment, collaboration, integration, and harmony, etc, to help organizations become proactively adapt to changes, take meaningful strides in closing the IT-customer gap. Because, with the accelerating digital speed, everything is always moving forward promptly, hopefully in the right direction.

How to leverage risks and rewards in digital innovation?
Digital IT organizations need to become the innovation engine of the business. The challenge is how to leverage the emergent digital technologies to renovate and build up the strong partner relationship to speed up innovation management life cycle. A company that is not reaping the business benefits of the digital age has a fundamental problem - failure to adapt and innovate. The ambitious companies empower their IT because digital IT can drive all sorts of innovations, proactively push ideas on how to leverage technology to drive revenue growth, increase business productivity, flexibility and maturity. Organizations need to keep innovating for creating new value and positioning a brand. To run an innovative IT, IT leaders should ask: What are the structures for innovation? How to leverage IT to scale up innovation and amplify its effect. By scaling up, can you overcome many big challenges? As the closer, we can get a clear and uncompromised place void of irrelevant complexity, analogy, and noise, the greater businesses’ ability to execute with a predictive pathway and increase go-to-market confidence. Further, innovation by its inherent nature comes with a risk. The failure is of crucial importance in the process of achieving innovation. The positive attitude for inspiring innovation is to be cautiously optimistic, take calculated risks and be alert about obstacles or pitfalls. To run an innovative IT organization, the more difficult challenge is not just about launching successful teams, but about maintaining their motivation and focus, cultivating the positive attitude and building a culture of risk tolerance and do more with innovation. IT leaders can appreciate such an unprecedented transformation, and look for every opportunity from risks; besides managing risks at every opportunity.

How to apply Systems Thinking to frame and solve tough business problems on the way? We are moving from a static and linear business world to a dynamic digital era, it directly impacts how we think and do things more effectively. Digitalization implies hyperconnectivity and interdependence. The shift from linear logical or analytical thinking to systems thinking is an evolution from a digital management perspective. Systems Thinking is integral thinking of analytics and synthesis, to understand the interrelationship between parts and the whole. More specifically, System thinking is all about organization, about relations between components, sub-systems, the viability of the system, how it survives, what exactly are its relations with its 'environment,' how it adapts to changes. Systems Thinking plays a crucial role in both framing the right problem and solving it in a structural way. It encourages of looking at the wider aspects of any problem space and then understanding the effect of imposing boundaries within that space. It’s about creating a framework within which the journey between the defined problem (question) and the proposed solution (answer) is clearly articulated. Many IT leaders are natural systems thinkers who can ask big questions, recognize the interconnections of things belonging to the system, as well as take a systematical approach to solve problems step by step.

We are living in an information abundant world where technology is pervasive and the masses are looking for their own experiences to introduce new technology into the business, leverage information in decision making. Digital organizations are like the living systems that keep growing, adaptive, and renewing. CIOs should ask themselves and others all sorts of tough questions and initiate hot debates to brainstorm the better way to do things. They serve as catalysts who can drive the organization to see the value of information technology in opening new revenue streams and achieving the differentiated competitive advantage.


Post a Comment