Saturday, July 27, 2019

Five Characteristics of Digital IT Maturity

 The highly complex and dynamic business needs to be elaborated in a well-organized effort for shaping a high mature digital organization.

Nowadays information is growing exponentially and technology is permeating into every aspect of the business. Organizations rely more and more on Information Technology; the IT department has more and more to overcome. IT faces unprecedented opportunities to refine its reputation, also needs to take more responsibilities as a true business partner. IT-driven digital transformation is the journey of improving business consciousness and making continuous deliveries. Here are five characteristics of digital IT maturity.

Credibility: Either individually or at the business setting, positive attitude and professional competency are important factors to build credibility. To improve organizational maturity, IT has to work towards building good credibility, making deep influence, and gaining respect from business peers. From a leadership perspective, credibility is one of the main factors of building collaborative working relationship and it requires competence that encourages where credibility emerges. Thus, CIOs must be the strategic partners of the business as they can demonstrate the strong leadership qualities such as vision, integrity, expertise, sound judgment, empathy, and discipline. IT needs to set the right priority, manage limited resources scientifically, and solve critical business problems that really matter to the business and customers, with the goal to build the great credibility as a trustworthy business partner for the long term. CIOs should push the limits of available technology, practice “under-promise” and "over-delivery," pull resources and talent to figure out the premium solution to the problem on hand, and make continuous improvement in a prioritized order as long as it creates the long term business advantage.

Relevance: With fast-paced changes and emerging on-demand IT service model, many IT organizations face the challenge of becoming irrelevant if they can’t provide the differentiated business value to the business. IT does not define the value of the services it offers, the “buyer” of the service defines that value. Often, there are discrepancies between how IT perceives itself and how the business perceives IT. Therefore, to keep IT relevant, IT and business should always be on the same page. IT must engage with the business proactively by clearly defining the features of the services it offers and the costs associated with the various features. IT leaders and staff needs to re-learn and re-skill all the time due to the exponential growth of information and shortened knowledge cycle. Ask leaders and managers about the vision and business problems they are trying to solve and provide solutions tailor their need. Keeping IT relevant is not just about technical excellence or process efficiency, but also about digital fit, adaptability, innovativeness, intelligence, and customer-centricity. Keep track of performance at the strategic level is important to evaluate the digital relevance of IT.

Simplicity: Although the nature of IT is complex, the art of IT management is not to complicate things, but to eliminate unnecessary complication and fine tune desired complexity such as design or other core capability building. Simplicity means or is related to too many things such as manageability, availability, scalability, flexibility, reliability, robustness, comprehensiveness, and responsiveness, etc. Logically, simplifying the complicated thing is an optimal and smart choice either for running the business or solving a problem. But how do you know that simplicity is "just right"? How do you know you have the minimum required complexity for supporting flexibility without hurting the support/maintenance costs? To achieve simplicity, you would have to address the complexities of the subject matter. Keep the end in mind - the purpose of simplification is about improving the business responsiveness for adapting to rapid changes. It means less structure, fewer rules, and regulations, but demonstrating high changeability and maturity.

Interdisciplinarity: Digital organizations are hyper-connected and interdependent. The silos of business units are at a need to reach across the aisle and work with each other respectively in order to understand complex business problems holistically and solve them systematically. The linear business system perception needs to be replaced by the adaptive digital system and the technical organizational behavior is replaced by the socio-technical business behavior. The digital paradigm has many dimensions. it is like solving a jigsaw puzzle with thousands of pieces, easy to get lost when trying to capture the big picture. Therefore, it’s important for applying interdisciplinary management approach to taking a holistic view, dynamic planning and responsible actions. It is important to involve not only putting the pieces of business management together but also blending them in such a way that the emergent whole is somehow more than the sum of its parts.

Inclusion: Inclusion shouldn’t be just an exercise in compliance mandated by the organization. Inclusion needs to be part of the digital strategy involving everyone in the organization that when successful, leads to cultural changes that improve all these key success factors for running a high mature digital business. Inclusion strategy is all about engagement, retention, productivity, loyalty, friendly bondage, truthfulness, ethical and justifiable environment with a view to all partners being a brand ambassador. Make inclusion part of the performance measurement. When people fail to include, it should be clear as to what the penalty would be. It is an overall strategy involving everyone in the organization; when successful, leads to cultural changes that improve all these key success factors for business.

To gain the respect from the business and build a good credibility as a trustworthy business partner for the long term, the CIO must be a partner in every aspect of the business. The highly complex and dynamic business needs to be elaborated in a well-organized effort. It’s crucial for business management to follow a set of well-defined digital principles, not letting things “falling apart” but building an “integral whole” and shaping a high mature digital organization which can function holistically and coherently in order to achieve high-performance business results.