Saturday, February 9, 2019

Three Digital Insight to Be a “Total CIO”

Digital CIOs have to wear multiple personas to practice total leadership and keep reinventing IT in adapting to changes and driving digital transformation smoothly.

Nowadays, digital organizations are so technology-driven and information-intensive, IT is one of the most significant elements of any differentiated business competencies and the defining factor of business success. While IT success has something to do with the definitions of the role that CIOs are playing and scopes of responsibilities they are taking. IT leadership totality (from whole, full, or the holistic perspective) is important for shaping digital CIO as the strategic business leader and reinventing IT to reach the next level of enterprise maturity.

Running IT as the “whole-brain” of the digital organization: Digital businesses are information-savvy, smart, responsive and innovative. Digital IT organization is like the nerve system and the “brain” of their business, to keep their company conscious of emerging trends as well as potential risks. IT needs to be rational as the left side of the brain for working on improving business process efficiency and cost optimization; IT also needs to be creative as the right side of the brain, imaginative and intuitive to deliver products or services which delight customers and engage users. Because IT has to shift from a controller to an enabler to an accelerator of the business for top-line business growth and maximizing business potential in face of ever-changing business dynamics today. It forces IT leaders to become bolder and more versatile, train themselves to think both creatively and critically, analytically and nonlinearly. On one hand, they have to face the business reality, be rational about the budget cut, resource reallocation, or priority changes; on the other hand, they need to focus on strategic thinking, spend more on innovation, and manage a balanced “run, grow, and transform” portfolio. Most importantly, to adapt to the over-complex and hyper-connected digital world, IT leaders should get really creative about how they architect and implement changes, to ensuring IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next.

Mastering the full cycle of information management: With the exponential growth of information, forward-thinking organizations cross vertical sectors claim they are in the information management business. Information is one of the most intensive puzzle pieces of the digital transformation. information can bring businesses the transformational value and huge wealth to any organization if it is well managed and wisely used. Information Management means that the business has information, that information has the right quality, that the information is used properly. Because different information is required at different points in the decision and operational delivery chain. Mastering the full cycle of information management is about processing information, gaining knowledge, and refine it into business insight which enables the right people getting the right information to make the right decisions at the right time. A “total CIO” needs to shift its focus from “T” technology-driven to “I” information oriented because Information Management is a threshold competency to enforce the strategic focus of the business, altering or changing the frame of reference to create previously unconsidered business solutions to either existing problems or emerging issues.

Taking a holistic problem-solving approach: With the exponential growth of information, rapid changes, and an unprecedented level of uncertainty, business problems today have become over-complex and interdependent. Never assume you know what the real problem is. Do not jump into “how” before figuring out “why and what” part of the problem. Often times, people have a tendency to try to fix a symptom which results from the actual cause of the problem. Every situation has choices, every situation has known known and unknown unknown. It’s important to search for new viewpoints; there needs to be a better appreciation to examine a situation and understand the problem from different angles and zoom out to see the larger system and their part in the mess. It’s also important to leverage Systems Understanding for diagnosing the root cause of problems and understanding the interconnected relationship between different problems, as well as potential solutions. Taking a holistic problem-solving approach means that you need to be looking for something hidden, which is not always obvious, you don’t just find it accidentally, you structure the thought processes to discover the patterns. It also means that you recognize the limitations of existing perspectives, methods or tools, so you integrate, synthesize, and innovate, make the proper adjustment to ensure the problem gets solved with less side effect.

The modern CIO role is sophisticated with digital traits such as multidimensional intelligence, innovativeness, decisiveness, adaptability, and profundity. Because they have to wear multiple personas to practice total leadership and keep reinventing IT in adapting to changes and driving digital transformation smoothly.


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