Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Digital CIO’s Multitude of Responsibilities

An effective CIO’s job is to leverage systems view for an understanding of the variety of business relationships, organizational functions and processes, and take the multitude of responsibilities for getting digital ready.

With overwhelming growth of information and continuous disruptions often caused by emerging digital technologies, managing a highly effective IT organization is not an easy job, In fact, IT faces many management dilemmas, it’s often overloaded and understaffed. The CIO is not a static management position, but a dynamic leadership role. With "VUCA" digital new normal, the expectations for CIOs have grown multi-fold, they need to have information technology insight and foresight upon potential opportunities to retool business, re-imagine growth possibilities, set the strategic priority, and take a multitude of responsibilities to get digital ready.

Interaction: The role of the CIO continues to evolve rapidly in the midst of overwhelming information growth and accelerating changes in technology. Often time though, the business crowd wrongly equate IT solutions with concerns of expensive technical difficulties and the IT crowd builds more out of its own know-how than the needs of the business client. Until both IT and business can build the true trustful relationship and both parties transcend to a genuine belief in one another, the gap will still exist, even be enlarged because the different parts of the business evolve digitally with different speeds.

To bridge gaps between business and IT; between the industrial age and the digital era, IT leaders should realize that communicating the concepts of technology on the groups they influence and the companies they empower is one of the most productive uses of their time. CIOs need to act like “Chief Interaction Officer,” leverage more open and interactive communication styles to connect the minds and hearts, for making an influence at the entire company scope, and practice tailored communication from the boardroom to different shareholders.

Digital CIOs as “Chief Interpretation Officer” is the new digital leadership perspective of harnessing communication and people centricity for accelerating digital transformation. The connection between IT and business lies in using the common language to help businesses cross that bridge to IT. The key is language to fit different audience without “lost in translation.”

The good “interpreter” can leverage contextual intelligence and multiple perspectives with respect to make the positive influence on pulling progressive conversations ahead, focus on commercial business outcomes, not just technical throughput, to ensure the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces.

Digital CIOs need to know how to play a bridge between what the business understands and what technology understands. Good communication takes empathy; try to understand first before being understood, learn to value multiple perspectives and to appreciate that the perspectives of others could offer a new or improved model in order to make fair judgments or effective decisions.

Investigation: The highly innovative organizations depend more heavily on its technological knowledge and information refinement to develop and commercialize innovation. The business management evolves IT to investigate different paths for the potential future of the organization, handle investigations of new technologies, as well as deal with investigations of innovative business solutions via evaluating and recognizing their innovative vendors and partners. Businesses are also looking for innovation capability from their IT service providers who can connect the dots via borrowing the fresh ideas from totally different industries or geographical boundaries.

IT should provide the comprehensive technological vision and business oversight, the objective assessment of underlying business functions and processes, take a holistic approach and structural practices for building the high mature digital organization with digital attributes such as responsiveness, adaptability, information availability, speed, innovation, etc.

To compete at digital speed with faster delivery, IT is transforming from a builder to an integrator, from a plumber to an orchestrator; from an order taker to a business advisor. Digital IT should be an integral part of the business. Integration becomes the key step in building solid IT-enabled business competency. As a matter of fact, making IT integrated into the company with process maturity is a crucial step to ensure information consistency, ROI, security, and interoperability for running a highly responsive and high-performance business.

IT integration to orchestration scenario will bridge the gap between the business silos, break down the organizational boundary, streamlining decision making and empowering innovation agenda. The ultimate business goal for IT integration is to maximize the value from existing IT systems and the need for better business performance and responsiveness.

Innovation: Forward-thinking organizations make sure that the management is foresightful enough for “doing more with innovation.” Forward-look IT leaders understand that technology-led innovation is not only for figuring out a better way to run the business today but also building business competency for the long run.

 In fact, the CIO as “Chief Innovation Officer” is one of the most appropriate titles for today’s digital IT leaders who need to develop business insight, not just through IT lenses, but through the outside-in business lens, think of new and uncommon ways on how IT can contribute to the corporation and help the business make the right strategy with a growth mindset. CIOs can practice that knowledge to start innovating at the organizational level and across the business ecosystem and run IT as the innovation engine of the digital business.

 IT is the linchpin of running a digital organization. An effective CIO’s job is to leverage systems view for an understanding of the variety of business relationships, organizational functions, and processes, and take the multitude of responsibilities for getting digital ready. IT transformation is the journey to pursue business effectiveness and maturity, to enable operational excellence, manage new service/product innovation, optimize customer experiences, and improve employees’ satisfaction, in building a high-performance digital enterprise.


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