Saturday, August 10, 2019

Five Perspectives of Improving IT Competency

IT competency depends on how well IT can provide innovative solutions to meet business needs and delight customers.

The characteristics of digital business are dynamic, volatile, uncertain, hyper-connected and interdependent. IT is the linchpin to run a high performance digital organization. To reinvent its reputation from a cost center to a strategic business partner, IT needs to spend more resources on creating unique competency for driving business growth, truly understands stakeholders’ expectations, and proposes a well-balanced products/services/solutions portfolio that corresponds to both demand and cost driver with a focus on business priority and achieving strategic business goals with continuous deliveries. Here are five perspectives of improving IT competency.

Deliver what you promise, and do what is best fit for the business’s strategy and goals: To reinvent IT as the trustful business partner, IT must make on-time delivery and continuous improvement in a proactive way. However, in practice, many IT organizations suffer from overloaded tasks and understaffed reality. Therefore, prioritization becomes an important leadership skill for IT leaders to laser focus on strategic business goals, improve transparency, and align IT portfolio management with ultimate business goals and objectives.Timing is critical, deliver what you promise, on time, on budget, and most importantly, on-value. IT management needs to engage with the business units to figure out what's the best fit for the business’s strategy and goals, what the pain points are and how to identify opportunities for developing new services/products or improving/optimizing current ones. IT competency directly impacts the business competency. The ultimate goal of IT is to help the business improve its responsiveness and profitability by improving its products/services and decreasing cost and redundancy.

Invest Human Capital which is your asset to reach critical business targets: From past, present, to future, Human Capital is always the largest intangible asset of a company which has to keep investing in to ensure the long term prosperity of the business. IT skills gap is not fiction, but the reality for many IT organizations getting stuck at the lower level of maturity. Even the deepest and most invigorated talent pool will quickly be undermined by chronic inefficiencies in an organization. Also, if the organization does not have an open leadership, the culture of learning, talent will not be properly utilized. Talented people should be empowered to leverage the creative side of their thinking for discovering new ways of doing things that allow for innovation to happen. Nowadays, Information Technology is permeating into every corner of the company, human capital is your great investment and asset to reach ultimate business goals and build the organizational capabilities. IT talent needs to have both technical competency and business acumen in order to truly solve business problems instead of overcoming technical challenges. IT talent management is critical to improve its competitive advantage and organizational maturity.

Raise customer satisfaction rating: IT needs to break out of the service provider mindset and perceive itself as a center of business value creation and customer champion. More specifically, IT value is demonstrated through the rate of employee engagement and productivity increases, the rate of new product development increases, the rate of market share gains, the rate of customer satisfaction and retention improvement, and the rate of sales gains, etc. IT needs to be well aligned with the business, but even more crucially, be closer to the end customers and deliver user-friendly products or services. Looking for solutions which will directly benefit the external end customer will improve the competitive advantage and bring in increased revenue of the business. IT led products/service improvement or business innovation is in the eye of the beholder – hopefully, a customer. Retention of customers/reduction in the churn with better IT enabled products or services and optimized customer experiences will be a great indicator of IT competency and an indirect way of increasing and maintaining business revenue.

Simplify the solution landscape and be able to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness: IT is complex, it doesn't mean IT should continue to complicate the matters or increase unnecessary complexity without strong management disciplines. In fact, high competent IT is the business simplifier which can help to keep optimizing business processes, tuning organizational structures, sharpening business capabilities while reducing the cost to market without the sacrifice of strategic goals. IT helps to simplify the business solution landscape by continue doing consolidation, modernization, integration, and automation in order to achieve cost effectiveness and business optimization. IT can also help the business improve net profit by reducing the cost of doing business, leveraging right sourcing and sizing, and maximizing business output, etc.

Improve adoption and utilization of key business solution: Today, businesses are more and more reliant on technology and digital solutions to compete .IT must bring to the table innovative and intuitive apps and solutions that meet customers’ needs with high adoption rate. Sometimes, what IT and users defined as “cool” or "innovative" are two entirely different things. In the IT department, it means pushing the limits of technology, whereas to the users it means making their work fun and lives simpler. For example, lack of user adoption is one of the issues to fail new software apps.An intuitive user interface can make high-quality software, even more qualified and popular. To improve adoption and customer satisfaction is to make the most of IT/technology "invisible" to the customer. In other words, hide the complexity of technology and provide customer-friendly products or services. What is left visible to the customer should be simple, intuitive, secure, reliable, and predictable.

IT is an integrator to knit all important business elements into the organizational competency. IT competency depends on how well IT can provide innovative solutions to meet business needs and delight customers; how adaptive it is to respond to changes and make people, process or technology changes sustainable for the long term. Or put simply, make continuous improvement more than discover an elegant solution.


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