Tuesday, October 30, 2018

​Three Aspects of Running Digital IT

The role of digital IT is to identify and blend the ways that information and technology can assist and shape the future of business by linking all important business aspects and key ingredients. 

With the exponential growth of information and increasing paces of changes, organizations rely more and more on technology; the IT department has more and more to overcome. The digital connectivity and IT consumerization bring both challenges and opportunities for IT to maximize its full potential and shift from a support center to a trusted business partner. Here are three aspects of running digital IT.

Progressing inch by inch toward predefined goals, but also making the timely adjustment with change on the way:
Compared to the considerably static industrial age, the digital environment is complex, uncertain, unpredictable and unrepetitive, digital business management today is iterative planning and implementation continuum. How well an IT organization can adapt to the dynamic environment directly affects the future of the business. It requires IT leaders taking a hard look at what’s going on inside the organization including strength and weakness checkup; taking a deep look at the underlying business functions and processes, as well as taking a wider look around at what’s going on outside the organization including opportunity and risk analysis. On one side, IT management needs to get the utility aspect of IT solidified, make the progress inch by inch toward predefined goals; on the other hand, they should make continuous self-check to ensure their organization has the right skills and costs are in line with the business’s long-term planning; build differentiated business competency to make a digital leap. One of the primary impediments to strategic alignment is a dissonance between upper and middle management and a similar dissonance between middle management and the bottom line. Digital businesses and their people learn through their interactions with the environment, they act, observe the consequences of their action, make inferences about those consequences, and draw implications for future action. Thus, the forward-looking CIOs must be able to develop and optimize the IT operational function within itself and scale the best practice to the company scope. Because IT is not just the business of the IT department, it must break down the functional silos and create synergy by harmonizing business relationships, integrating business processes, and optimizing organizational structures and functions. IT leaders should also prepare the scenarios for failure in the future to help everyone be clear about the potential pitfalls - and improve IT responsiveness and maturity.

Leveraging resources for critical strategic undertakings: IT investment is costly and IT resource is limited. Thus, resource allocation is critical to IT management prioritization and run high-performance IT to create differentiated business value. Traditional IT organizations only support business strategy, but running digital IT as a business means that IT strategy is an integral component of the business strategy, and IT is the business inside the business. Therefore, it is important to put the framework in place to map the strategic objectives into measurement, leverage resources for critical strategic undertakings, and then determine what technology investments will accelerate the changes you want to see in your key performance indicators. The process is adaptively rational, it has to strike the balance of ‘keeping the order,’ and sparking the innovation. To improve IT effectiveness, responsiveness, performance, innovation, and maturity, successful capacity planning, and resource management are critical to ensuring that IT resource is available before they are needed. IT capacity planning process must obtain accurate information on business growth needs. The resource allocation scenario needs to be transparent, helps IT managers take advantage of resource effectively, optimize cost, and improve IT capacity to ensure IT is on the right track as the business strategy enabler. IT leaders should proactively participate in business strategy planning in advance, make the strenuous effort on achieving T management effectiveness and operational excellence.

Refocus on portfolio management and build unique business competency: Running digital IT goes beyond “keeping the lights on.” IT is business, the challenge for organizations is to manage its portfolio of relevant cross-border strategic synergies and organizational interdependence. The balanced IT application portfolio can deliver lots of value for the business in many ways, such as customer satisfaction, business optimization, and change adaptability, etc. Thus, IT portfolio rationalization is an activity more critical than ever because economic cycles are getting shorter, and decision cycles are getting shorter as well. IT effectiveness directly impact organizational performance and maturity. To maximizing IT value and unleashing the full digital potential, it is important to build a balanced IT portfolio for developing the differentiated capabilities, enabling business growth and improving IT and overall organizational performance. Portfolio management is about doing right things by focusing on the decision-making process around which programs and projects should be executed based on their alignment with the goals and objectives of the organization, and therefore, getting increasingly further attention with digital new normal. The role of digital IT is to identify and blend the ways that information and technology can assist and shape the future of business by linking all important business aspects such as goals, objectives, actions, etc, together for enforcing the digital competency. These are then mixed with other ingredients to create products and processes which generate differentiated business competency for strategy implementation and their business’s long-term growth.

Digital businesses are becoming complex and uncertain, to survive and thrive, IT plays a linchpin to integrate all important business elements to a set of business competencies such as robustness, flexibility, innovation, speed, comprehensiveness, responsiveness, agility, improvement, sensitivity, optimization, resilience, etc, with the goals to accelerate business performance and drive the long-term business prosperity.


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