Thursday, February 21, 2019

CIO as "Chief Improvement Officer": Three Management Aspects of Improving IT Maturity

IT should continue to evolve the digital dynamic and reinvent itself as a strategic business partner and improve its organizational maturity.

Information is permeating into every corner of the organization; technology the backbone of modern businesses across vertical sectors. IT has to expand its impact in every dimension to improve the company’s operational excellence, business responsiveness, performance, flexibility, digital fluency, and maturity. Maturity is the state of ripeness, quality, fluency, balance, and resilience. Here are three management aspects of improving IT maturity. 

IT leadership vision and charisma: To move up IT maturity from a reactive support center to a proactive change agent takes leadership vision and a good strategy. As a leader, the CIO has to be able to inspire and encourage with his/her vision and generate conviction and enthusiasm for the strategic goal of the company and the mapping objectives of IT organization. A clarified vision articulates the destination the organization intends to get and informs the business change agenda. Unfortunately, many CIOs today lose focus of the vision and get stuck at the “keeping the lights on,” and only take care of the immediate problems mentality. To keep IT relevant for the long run and reenergize the business for reaching the next growth cycle, a clarified vision allows IT leaders to steer their organization in the right direction, ride the learning curve well ahead of the rest of the company, give people confidence on where to go and how to get there, support them and also stretch them to live to their full potential and reach their professional maturity both individually and collectively.

Business -savvy: IT maturity is proportional to overall business maturity. Thus, to run a high mature IT organization, CIOs have to become business savvy. They need to participate in forming the organization's strategy, its implementation, and assessing its performance. They have a strong understanding of what the business does, how it does it, and have a comprehensive business oversight. Within their understanding, they are responsible for highlighting evolving IT to the board members and their impact on the organization and its strategies. They also need to make sure that all IT investments are aligned with the organization's strategy and the approved priorities. Business savvy CIOs can take an outside-in lens, articulate the business benefit realized through IT investment, truly run IT as a strategic business partner. Those organizations in which business management is technologically evolved and keeping up with digital technology developments around them for the desired synchronization can reach the next level of business maturity.

Portfolio management: Modern business has three fundamental components: People, process, and technology. The role of contemporary CIO is to weave them all into differentiated business competency and manage a well balanced “run grow, and transform” portfolio. Identify and blend the ways that information and technology can assist and shape the business by linking all critical business ingredient together to enforce the business value creation. Organizations today have to manage a large number of business initiatives in order to beat competition and delight customers.  A healthy IT portfolio is crucial for improving organizational maturity. All IT spending must be rationalized against the business benefits. You aren't sacrificing the long-term viability of the portfolio for short-term gain. Portfolio management is essential to successful corporate governance and as such, a comprehensive fusing of a firm's strategic business competencies.

IT should continue to evolve the digital dynamic and reinvent itself as a strategic business partner and improve its organizational maturity. It takes a very concerted and systematic effort and a strong desire to make changes happen and sustain. The goal is to help the business “playing to win,” not just try not to lose, and improve overall business competency, resilience, and maturity.


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