Thursday, March 14, 2019

Running Solution-Driven IT

The role of IT today for many organizations is a business solutionary and the constructor of business competence.

The role of the CIO continues to evolve rapidly in the midst of the information growth and the accelerating changes in technology. While it is assumed that the core of a CIO is to manage the IT organization to achieve operational excellence, increase the capacity of business execution and improve overall business maturity, CIOs must have a higher level of influence on how businesses change, innovate, and run a solution-driven IT organization.

Solve problems really matter:
Most of IT organizations are overloaded and understaffed, thus, CIOs need to assign their resource and time carefully and solve problems really matter. They don’t set priorities in a vacuum. Rather. they'll leverage the enterprise's strategy and business objectives to determine which problems are critical to solving and which competencies are crucial to implementing the strategy; and then, they build and solidify those capabilities and obtain business advantages. IT is in a unique position to oversee organizational functions and structures, it also needs to have knowledge and expertise for interpreting important business issues into technology-enabled solutions and leverage necessary resources to solve them systematically. To improve IT maturity from a surviving mode- “keeping the lights on,” to a striving mode - becoming more goal-focused and result driven, IT should turn on the ‘debugging mindset’ to do a root cause analysis, solve important business problems and solve them in a right way. IT is the integrator to glue the functional silos to the whole. To make the link strong and the outlook clear is to empower the IT team and make them think through the business world while digging into root causes and working on the solutions. An IT organization with digital proficiency can devote more attention to what organizations really care about - leveraging information for gaining business insight, to solve problems really matter:

Apply creative thinking to problem-solving and achieving business goals: To shift IT from an order-taking mode to solution-driven mode, it’s important to overcome “we always do things like that,” mentality, and apply creativity to problem-solving. IT innovation capabilities directly impact on how it helps the business gain competitive advantage and solve crucial business issues creatively. IT is also shifting from a service provider to business solutionary. Companies love to see IT getting deeply immersed in new apps, devices, and solutions to make business more productive, collaborative and smart. A premium digital IT needs to understand stakeholders’ expectations and propose a solution portfolio that corresponds to both demand and cost drivers with a focus on business priority and building unique business competencies. Focus on the root cause and get away from a preconceived solution if you believe that the proposed solution is not the optimized solution. In essence, creative problem-solving is about leveraging multidimensional competencies to formulate creative or unconventional solutions to resolve problems, to show versatility and flexibility in response to unpredictable or unanticipated circumstances.

Provide customer-tailored solutions: The digital era is the age of options, it provides opportunities for IT leaders to get really proactive on how to delight customers by solving their problems and tailoring their needs. IT has both internal and external customers. The digital CIOs should be able to constantly and dynamically lead an IT structure that will seamlessly enable and optimizes the business and well ahead of the business requirement. They are able to interact with business in their processes and pain areas and bring out customer-tailored and technology-driven solutions. The pitfall is that many IT specialists do not have enough knowledge and understanding about their businesses or customers, very few know their business’s strategy, and can’t map their daily tasks to the business’s strategic goal. It is no surprise that sometimes, instead of solving problems, they probably add unnecessary complexity to the already tangled processes or products, to create new problems. Furthermore, being customer-centric doesn't mean that IT just blindly follows customers’ requests. Discover what is at the heart of the problem. It is IT management's responsibility to offer alternatives if they cannot deliver what is requested, and suggest the solutions that will benefit the customer, the company, and the overall direction of IT.

The role of IT today for many organizations is a business solutionary and the constructor of business competence. Business leaders should also realize the breakthrough success in digital businesses today requires not only forward-thinking strategies but also taking a step-wise problem-solving approach. At the higher mature stage, IT is thriving to grow vigorously, to flourish and become the game changer of the business.


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