Friday, December 28, 2018

The Digital CIO’s Breadth of Vision and Depth of Insight

IT organizational maturity is achieved via harmonized communication, frictionless IT-business integration, and effortless collaboration. 

Organizations no matter large or small, all face unprecedented changes, uncertainty, and accelerated business dynamic. With abundant information and continuous disruptions, business initiatives today nearly always involve some form of technology implementation or information processing. However, many IT organizations still get stuck at the low maturity which stems from the prevailing cultural norm that accepts IT as a tactical function, but not as a strategic partner. Until this changes, IT will continue being perceived as the cost center and support desk. To keep IT relevant, digital CIOs must share the breadth of vision and the depth of insight and reinvent IT as the strategic business partner.

Shape the breadth of vision and create digital options for the business: Digital is the era of options. Digital CIOs are not just tactical managers to “keep the lights on” only, they have to share their technological vision, look at creating digital options for giving organizations the ability to explore new business opportunities. It is not the value of the investment which matters, rather, it is the breadth of vision. Tunnel vision happens when people work as a group or siloed function, not as a cohesive team or a holistic organization. Tunnel vision happens that every side of the fence, commercial and technical, under the silo walls, misbelieve the relevance and difficulties of each other’s works. The tunnel effect causes bureaucracy, diminishes trust, decreases productivity, and decelerate business speed. The CIO should run IT like the business, as a start-up and requiring venture capital (buy-in from other divisions), be it mature and sustainable and hence, it shows ROI and a profit back to the organization. Many CIOs create "options for the business" that the business cannot monetize or focus on. Thus, the CIO needs to work with the other senior leaders to develop a vision for IT that fits with or is a key component of, the firm's strategy.  IT needs to engage with the business units to find out how the department is perceived, what the pain points are and to identify opportunities for developing new business models, products or services, as well as improving current ones.

Digital CIOs should convey insight and foresight upon businesses, take the balance of opportunities and risks in catalyzing business growth: IT takes charge of managing one of the most invaluable assets of the business - information. When information has been used to capture the business insight for developing the right products or services, entering a new market, exploiting a new channel or conduct day to day operations, etc, it achieves its value. Information Management provides feedback for business betterment. IT enables a business to access, consume, and generate necessary information to perform a range of business tasks or functions, (not all of which are about decisions), but all of which require collective human capabilities which are a subset of business capability to perform some part of the actions or processes. Information & Technology are key ingredients in building non-functional business competencies such as availability, reliability, scalability, reconfigurability, interoperability, elasticity, security, etc, at an acceptable cost. Digital CIOs will take a proactive approach towards suggesting the best approach for handling risks and constraints, aligning IT goals with business goals and managing a well-defined and scalable system in place to meet the future business growth.

IT needs to re-brand itself as a business innovation or transformation center: Most IT organizations still get stuck at a low level of organizational maturity. To break the mold, IT needs to rethink itself as an innovative and business leading organization composed not only of technical ‘gurus,’ but rather of business ‘gurus’ who also happen to be technically proficient. The business competency and differentiation provided by innovative technologies usually is more long-lived than differentiation provided by marketing actions that can be copied easier. IT plays a bigger role in helping the business achieve the next level of innovation management. The differentiation provided by innovative technologies allows companies to reach the "long-tail" customer that previously was impossible or uneconomic. Being able to become innovative or close is being able to think, and create new things based on the business or the customer’s needs. This requires open leadership and different management styles, organizational setups, and focus. CIOs play the bridge role of integrating the art and science of digital innovation and run highly innovative digital IT organizations.

Digital CIOs do not lead through brute force, but through the breadth of vision and the depth of insight. IT organizational maturity is achieved via harmonized communication, frictionless IT-business integration, and effortless collaboration. It's also about leveraging and balancing, enforcing communication, setting up standardization, prioritizing investment, managing resources and doing continuous practices for improving IT organizational maturity.


Post a Comment