Saturday, April 20, 2019

Shaping IT Competency to Drive Digital Transformation

The digital competency organizations should craft is about adapting, optimizing, innovating, and improving business maturity.

Digital businesses are becoming complex and uncertain. Technologies nowadays are the disruptive forces behind digital disruptions, and information is one of the most invaluable assets of modern businesses. Organizations across industrial sectors rely more and more on information and technology. Thus, from a strategic perspective, to survive and thrive, it’s not sufficient to run IT as a commodity service provider, IT is the value-added business partner that makes the company different and achieve more. IT organization has more to offer but also has more obstacles to overcome. How to shape IT competency and improve IT performance and maturity.

Set policies and guidelines to build competency and navigate digital transformation: There needs to establish digital policies for building a cohesive set of IT-enabled business competency. Setting guidelines, tuning structures, and making programs are three levels to build digital competency. Organizations today are living in the turmoil digital sea of information, you have to change with the “tide,” but you also have to follow well-set principles which help to guide you in decision-making, driving changes, with which speed can you swim in the uncharted water; with which competencies and skills can help you survive and thrive; and how to keep focus on the destination without getting lost. The right level of the strategic guideline is not about putting restrictions on what people should do; Instead, they are the philosophy behind the methodologies, and they are the mindsets behind behaviors and actions. It helps to shape the attitude, develop capabilities, drive actions and monitor to know when things are not going on the plan so that IT management can make the proper adjustment and take appropriate actions at the right time. From change and innovation perspective, it takes strategic guideline for designing a logical scenario: Have you had a clear vision about where you are going? What your systems will be like and how they will work? Which competencies shall you need to build? What milestones can you reach at which timeline? With the right guideline, it’s much easier to select between immediate opportunities to demonstrate some quick wins and pursuing the long-term goals to realize the business vision; pick the ones that take you in the right direction. The leverage point is to structure change and keep focus, but not adding too much complexity. In short, the proper standard and processes will help to set the right priority and drive IT transformation effectively.

Make strategic choices to build differentiated business competency: Every competitive business has two sets of competencies: The necessary competency to run the business as others do and reap some quick wins; also the differentiated business competency to stand out as the industry leader with the strong business brand. It’s important to make strategic choices, identify key business capabilities and hone them into the organization-wide competency. Different businesses are at a different stage of the business maturity cycle. The strategy as a vector has both direction and force, the goals should be clear; it’s important to create an organizational roadmap for competency building in order to implement the strategy smoothly. Estimate the cost and methodologies to develop those competencies. It includes but not limited to portfolio management, change management, enterprise architecture development, rapid adoption and deployment of new platforms, etc. This also gives the executive the decision support they need to choose which of the strategic choices is most likely to succeed. IT needs to spend more resources on creating unique competency for driving business growth; truly understand stakeholders’ expectations, and propose a products/services/solutions portfolio that corresponds to both demand and cost driver with a focus on business priority and achieving strategic business goals.

Build dynamic capabilities for adapting to changes: The characteristics of digital business are dynamic, volatile, uncertain, and hypercompetitive. It is also critical to build dynamic business capabilities to adapt to changes and drive digital transformation. It’s important to re-purpose well-designed components and systems for change purpose, ensure that change can be accomplished quickly and consistently if the underlying structures and processes are dynamic and flexible. Importantly, digital organizations need to get away from letting things fall through and start creating an integral whole by utilizing correct processes to solve complexities and underpin dynamic business competency. Change becomes a dynamic business capability in which IT is the key enabler. It's also worth pointing out that business adaptability or agility is closely related to simplicity. The simpler the business processes, the agiler the business is. The simpler the IT systems, the agiler, in general, the IT systems are. In an architectural context, it effectively reflects the functional coverage of IT architecture and integrates change management into IT portfolio management life cycles. IT is an integrator to knitting all important change elements into the organizational competency and make people, process or technology changes sustainable for the long term.

The digital competency organizations should craft is about adapting, optimizing, innovating, and improving business maturity. IT competency will strategically decide the overall business capabilities to manage strategy, improve business performance, and achieve the desired effect under specified performance standards and conditions through combinations of talents and resources, processes, and technologies to perform a set of activities. IT is not just the sum of services or processes, but a differentiated business advantage.


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