Friday, August 30, 2019

Five Facets of Strategic CIOs

Being strategic means CIOs should always stay focused on the big picture of the business, value creation and strategic impact.

With the increasing pace of changes and fast-growing information, clearly, the role of IT is at the inflection point to go through significant changes. IT shouldn’t be just satisfied with the surviving mode, it has to be thriving. How well an IT organization can adapt to the dynamic environment directly affects the future of the business significantly. The CIO is not just a tactical manager, but a strategic business leader with multidimensional thinking competencies and multifaceted perspectives.

Digital Modernist: To run a high-mature digital organization, CIOs need to have better senses to capture technology trends, articulate a clear vision of what’s possible, gain insight to understand things holistically, and explore the premium path of digital transformation. Information Technology is permeating into every corner of the business nowadays. As the modern CIO, you have the most influential position in the business. Don’t waste the opportunity, seize it. The digital modernist CIOs should focus on information management, and ensure that information can be refined into valuable business insight and be actively used to shape a high-intelligent business. At the higher level of organizational maturity, IT is an innovation hub and change agent. The digital modernist CIOs can step out of conventional IT box and disrupt linear management disciplines, discover the creative side of IT, leverage the latest digital technologies and exponential growth of information to fuel innovation, and reinvent IT as the growth engine of the business.

Business Model architect: It’s not sufficient to run IT as a support function only. IT can become known as a revenue rainmaker by associating its efforts directly with sources of income. IT should invest in and leverage appropriate technologies and solutions to generate valuable insights and help the business open up new channels of revenue and monetization within the enterprise and their ecosystem. In fact, in today’s digital economy, Information Technology becomes an important element in developing the new business model or renovating existing business model. The strategic CIOs like the business model architect, run IT as the linchpin to connect all important building blocks of a strong business model such as revenue streams, resources, key activities, partnerships, cost structures, marketing channels or customer relationship management, etc. IT applications blended with emerging digital technologies can make continuously creative disruptions, rejuvenate business models, and deliver significant business benefits.

Savvy venture capitalist: IT is one of the most critical business assets besides people. IT investment is often costly. In fact, IT investment in the business can often become the decisive factor to run a high-performance organization with a long-term perspective. Many organizations across vertical sectors make huge investment in sophisticated IT, but unfortunately, IT portfolio management has considerably lower level of success rate compared to many other types of business investment. Because often, IT investment and management is not just the work of IT, but the responsibility of the entire company. CIOs should think and act like venture capitalist, make wise decisions and manage a successful IT investment portfolio to improve the overall strategic management effectiveness and business competency.

Skillful business solutionist: With rapid changes, the disruptions come almost overnight. Technology is a significant component in almost all critical business processes and capabilities. Information is often one of the most time-intensive pieces of complex problem-solving. Thus, modern CIOs need to be skillful business solutionists, assign their talent, resource and time carefully to solve problems really matter. They should leverage the enterprise's strategy and business objectives to set the right priority and decide which problems to solve and strike the right balance of IT transaction and transformation. IT needs to be influential enough to offer customers premium solutions in the right manner at the right cost. They won’t just wait for the customers’ requests to solve their issues; but work closely and proactively with the business to identify and frame the real problems, as well as leverage information and technology to solve them effectively.

Innovative culture influencer: A healthy corporate culture is very important as a determinant of business performance for the long term. IT plays a threshold competency role in building a culture of innovation. CIOs as “innovative culture influencer” should encourage out of the box thinking, have the vision and leadership competency to stimulate creative energy and maximize innovation at all levels in the organization. Change the culture is the mindset, it’s important to empower innovators, hire, retain, and recognize innovators who can help the organization shape the culture of creativity and develop an open and optimal environment for innovation. The art of innovation is that it involves new ways of bringing together ideas and resources to create something novel. It takes systematic effort within a company to embrace fresh thinking, leverage powerful digital information technologies, cultivate an innovative culture, and manage innovation in a structural way.

Being strategic means CIOs should always stay focused on the big picture of the business, value creation and strategic impact, to ensure doing right things before doing things right, leverage and prioritize, build long-term sustainable competitive advantage and take the organization to the next level of digital maturity.


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