Tuesday, February 25, 2020

IT Dysfunctional Symptoms and Root Causes

IT organizations are interlaced systems which have their own purpose, and the processes are determined by the intrinsic nature of the whole. 

Forward-looking organizations empower their IT to drive changes and lead the digital transformation. In reality, the problems of many traditional organizations are silo mentality, incoherent processes, overly rigid hierarchy, fractal structure, or bureaucratic management style.

To improve the organizational maturity, IT needs to not only look at dysfunctional symptoms but also dig through root causes, reinvent itself as a strategic partner of the business. IT transformation is a significant step in the business’s digital transformation. It takes visionary leadership, solid governance process, talented people and the latest technologies or tools to climb up organizational maturity. Here are three IT dysfunctional symptoms.

IT is not involved closely with the business part of the organization: A company is made up of silos called functions. The majority of IT organizations still run as siloed functions and get stuck at a lower level of management maturity. The disconnect between the business and IT is still one of the root causes to fail IT and business as a whole. With the exponential growth of information and fierce competition, IT becomes less about “operating” and more about “generating differentiation for the business.” The link between IT and line-of-business peers can only increase to ensure the company as a whole accelerates business performance.

To bridge the gap between IT and business, spend the time to improve the language gaps between IT and non-IT. It is the responsibility of the leaders to initiate his or her team to break down silos, enhance cross-functional communication and collaboration and create a seamless organization when in pursuit of a strategy. The IT department is not a silo by itself and it draws its energy from within the organization. Like any other organization design effort, structuring IT group to leverage its core and distinctive competencies. From alignment to integration, there is more potential to innovate and create value, more so when the collaborative competency of the IT organization is strong.

IT organizational structure is misaligned: The main reason corporations need to create new structure schemes and organizational designs in IT is because business goals are not being met with current design and structure. The digital organizational structure design should delayer the unnecessary business hierarchy to enable digital flow and inspire “digital holism.” Before you could create a new IT organizational structure, you have to make sure it’s not just in alignment with the organizational culture, but also helps to cultivate the culture of innovation in the entire company and improve business performance.

Organizational structure is change, and change is never for its own sake, rather than ask "what factors drove your restructuring," ask "what are the problems we're having meeting our goals," and go from there. Organizational leaders need to check: If you redesigned the IT department, what factors drove the restructuring? How is the structure of your IT department aligned with the organization? A mature organization is a different story in optimizing the structure and improving performance. Design an IT structure to optimize business processes, improve productivity, encourage employees to be innovative and embrace digital mindsets, methodologies, and practices.

Inconsistent approach to process and procedure management: Processes underpin capabilities, and capabilities underpin strategy execution. When productivity is low and change is stifled, further analytics is needed for an understanding of the cause whether it is due to the change curve, inefficient processes or procedures. Inconsistent process management is often caused by a lack of policies and governance procedures that define processes. Progressive IT leaders should, in fact, take the lead in introducing process management into the company and integrate processes across the organization for improving effectiveness, responsiveness, and maturity.

IT organizations are interlaced systems which have their own purpose, and the processes are determined by the intrinsic nature of the whole. The goal of process/procedure optimization is to eliminate unnecessary complication, but also encourage desired complexity such as design, improve operations to reduce the burden on the company while trying to stay current with ever-changing technologies and dynamic business environment. Besides the process-oriented perspective, IT leaders should leverage outside-in view and seize the opportunity to take a fresh look at the processes through which IT creates value for its customers and improving systems.

IT is at the crossroad to either become irrelevant or transform it as a change engine of the business. IT leaders need to handle various conflicts between classic style and digital style of management and take an integral management discipline to ensure that the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces. The purpose of IT management is to optimize IT resources and catalyze business growth, enable the business to move forward smoothly and unlocking business performance continuously.


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