Monday, November 18, 2019

The CIO as “Chief Improvement Officer”: Grease The Wheel of Digital IT via Process Tuning

IT becomes highly influential in an organization’s direction and innovation. 

An evolving digital IT is a lever to move the business forward. In today’s digital dynamic and technical environments in which IT is being used more and more around the globe for revenue generating initiatives and in fact, business is becoming IT. Information and Technology and its associated methodologies and practices are parts of the leverage mechanism to bridge organizational gaps, modernize and integrate business processes, and build a cohesive set of business competency. Processes underpin business capabilities. The CIO as “Chief Improvement Officer:” How to grease the wheel of digital IT via process tuning?

The CIO’s thought processes: Nowadays information is growing exponentially and the technology trend moves very quickly. Digital CIOs play the strategic leadership and change agent role in business transformation via systematic thinking and well thought-out planning. They need to adopt digital ready mindsets to think broadly, think profoundly, think critically, think creatively, and think holistically.

IT is mainly an engineering practice which requires systematic thinking and logical analysis. Technology has played a large role in “gluing” both hard and soft business elements to build a modern workforce and workplace. Thus, the CIO’s structured thought processes are the things they bring to the table for making effective decisions and solving business problems. In fact, multidimensional thinking and problem-solving skills are always and continued needs for contemporary CIOs to master complexity.

To make a smooth transition from inside-out operation driven to outside-in business centric, digital CIOs need to become less technically focused (but not less technically literate), and far, far more business focused, have the ability to be “mindful,” think slowly but act promptly to adapt to changes. To run a hyperdiverse digital environment with multigenerational, multicultural and multi-devicing workforce, digital CIOs also need to equip with global mindset, learn how to look at problems or issues in such a way that solution emerges through a collaborative approach involving intellectual capital and global social capital. They need to cultivate a healthy thinking habits in making sound judgments and effective decisions consistently for running digital IT as a strategic business partner.

IT defined process knowledge: IT is supporting almost all key business processes and, therefore, the CIO is able to define how the process is working. Processes underpin business competency. Strong business processes have a better chance to deliver better performance results. With hyperconnectivity and interdependence nature of digital organizations, business process management needs to become more dynamic and people-centric. IT is custodian of business processes and works hand in hand with users to optimize it.

However, just understanding processes from inside-out view is not sufficient. More importantly, digital leaders need to put customers' shoes on, understand business processes from end customers' viewpoint, and bring fresh perspectives on how to improve it. Effective IT management means understanding every island of operation and every workflow process to keep optimizing the organizational competency and capacity by leveraging information technology to lower costs, improve operations and increase revenue.

Further, process management effectiveness and efficiency achieved through standardization and optimization directly impact strategy management success and business performance. CIOs who understand the strategic value of defined processes and, therefore, the value of getting everything in the triangle (value/cost/risk) correct is in a fabulous position to be able to increase customer satisfaction, improve engagement, and deliver projects with the desired outcomes for his/her organization.

IT-enabled change process:
We are entering the new age - the convergence of enterprise IT and consumerization of IT, digital customers and employees expect applications to be as intuitive and task-oriented. It represents a merging of corporate and consumer capabilities within the organization. With the business change as the new normal, the process, structure, behavior, and self-interest of individuals and groups, all these factors interact in a dynamic. 

Process and information are two sides of the same coin. IT shouldn’t just react to change, they need to ride learning curve ahead of the rest of the company, and ultimately become the change department of the business. With fast-paced changes and business disruptions often driven by technology, CIOs need to master business processes, as processes underpin the business capability, and business capabilities decide effectiveness of strategy execution. 

During the whole IT-enabled process, make sure that all staff is aware of the business plans/processes and updated timely. Make each individual feel responsible for the success of the plan, engage them actively and make sure that your new proposal solves their current problems, and provide a better working environment.

IT becomes highly influential in an organization’s direction and innovation. Forward-looking organizations are reinventing IT reputation from a cost center to a value creator, and from inside-out operation driven to outside-in customer-centric. Modern CIOs as “Chief Improvement Officer,” need to thrive for becoming the digital shaper, envision and participate to co-create the future proactively and grease the wheel of digital IT via process-tuning, to improve IT and overall business effectiveness, responsiveness, flexibility, agility, and maturity.


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