Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Uniqueness of Digital IT

 IT needs to be unique, innovative, and influential, help business to accelerate performance and maximize potential not only for today but for the future.

At the dawn of the digital era, with rapid changes and exponential growth of information, IT is no longer just that monolithic support function which is hidden behind; on the opposite, it continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. The role of CIO is unique because every CIO is different and whatever the management team needs or wants at the time out of the CIO will also be different, and by type of business needs will be different as well. More specifically, what’s the uniqueness of digital IT and how to run IT as a business differentiator?

Unique position: IT is uniquely positioned to observe underlying business processes and organizational structures across the enterprise, as well as integrate all crucial business elements such as people, process, and technology into differentiated organizational competencies. CIOs are in a unique position to oversee the business from different angles, perceive the business sophistication, technology intricacies, as well as company interactions, to gain a contextual understanding of critical business issues, diagnose the root causes underneath the symptoms in order to solve real problems in a structural way. If they see the business as an “asset under construction,” and then, the CIO is not only responsible for achieving cost efficiency, but also become a business enabler, change agent and a digital architect of the new business model. IT is unique, the unique role of digital CIO is to carry forward the business by sharing the unique point of view to break down conventional wisdom and leveraging the lightweight digital technologies for catalyzing changes and making a seamless digital transformation.

Unique strength: With fierce competitions and emerging IT service models, to keep IT relevant, it is no longer sufficient to run IT just as a commodity function to keep the lights on only. The digital IT organization’s long-term advantage is based on its unique strength and a set of differentiated business competencies which can be built through the combination of talent, resources, processes, and technologies to perform a set of business activities and achieve high-performance business results. Being a unique CIO means that the IT leader should close leadership and communication gaps based on their advanced mindsets, fresh insight, proficient knowledge, and niche skills. IT leaders need to identify and blind the way that IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next, assist and shape the business by linking all digital elements together into unique strength and innovation competencies. Sometimes when one business area has a new product or a service that can be used by another, IT leaders can connect the wider dots to come up with innovative solutions. In practice, leveraging unique IT knowledge and strength to build business competency is crucial for the organization’s long-term growth and maturity.

Unique influence: The role of the CIO continues to evolve rapidly in the midst of the exponential growth of information and the accelerating changes in technology. CIOs must not preoccupy themselves with operational issues or process improvements only. The top CIOs today must have fresh business insight and make a unique influence on business strategies and digital transformation. Being a unique CIO with fresh perspective means that the IT leader should be informative, persuasive, and empathetic to close communication and leadership gaps by practicing expert power and information-based decision-making, and become a trustful business partner ultimately. Modern CIO’s leadership influence is multifaceted because they have to play different roles, wear multiple personas, and communicate with different audiences such as boards, business partners, customers, and vendors, etc, fluently. Their viewpoints should be broad enough to understand issues with contextual intelligence, deep enough to discover patterns with technical know-how knowledge, practical enough on how to leverage information and technology in crucial business problem-solving. They lead forward through unique influence, not through brute forces.

Different IT organizations are at a different stage of business maturity Cycle. Regardless of how you should describe the importance of IT, the point is that IT needs to be unique, innovative, and influential, help the business to accelerate performance and maximize potential not only for today but for the future.


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