Thursday, February 13, 2020

IT Management Perils and Pitfalls

There are many signs about a dysfunctional IT system, you just need to have insightful eyes to identify them and the good practices to diagnose the root causes and fix them smoothly.

Information and technology nowadays are permeating every corner of the organization and recharging the digital business with the power to respond to changes quickly and innovate relentlessly. However, many IT organizations still get stuck in the old IT thinking box which cannot move fast enough in the digital era, becoming irrelevant due to outdated management disciplines, overly rigid processes, or enlarged skill gaps. There are many signs about a dysfunctional IT system, you just need to have insightful eyes to identify them and the good practices to diagnose the root causes and fix them smoothly.

Lack of dynamic strategic planning: Nowadays IT can contribute significantly and directly to the business model renovation and strategic direction of the company. IT leaders are not only tactical managers to “keep the light on,” but also need to be the top business executives who begin thinking about ways with IT strategic planning to broaden their ecosystem view and consider competitive forces in the business and the marketplace. To keep IT relevant, differentiation is one of the many strategic options IT can make, but you have to plan it right and make it true value-added from a strategic perspective.

With the fast pace of changes and exponential growth of information, there is a danger of not having a dynamic strategy management process to "develop and nurture" IT-enabled business potential. CIOs need to make dynamic strategic planning, proactively push ideas on how to leverage IT for driving business revenue growth, exploring new possibilities and building the core competencies to perform in the future.

Misread business requirement: In many companies, the IT-business gap is a reality. There is typically a significant gap between what the business wants and needs vs. what IT is providing. IT has to oversee the full set of business requirements to ensure cohesiveness and to determine all the customers, users, and stakeholders and obtain their involvement. Misreading business requirements will cause “lost in translation” symptoms and decelerate the organizational speed.

When it comes to collecting the business requirements, IT needs to take the traceability path of where the requirements come from. To improve IT portfolio management effectiveness, IT leaders should work closely with the business to translate the business requirements to system/IT requirements, understand the specific development plan and consideration such as IT roadmap, resource, skill, etc. The result is usually a lot of churns until they get it right. Transparency is critical to developing a trusting relationship between the business and IT for clarifying business requirements and improving IT manageability.

Work only within the system: IT system is a system with infrastructure that manages information to streamline business management. In many companies with lower-level of maturity, the business is the sum of pieces, IT works only within the system, it often causes silo, stifles information flow and causes management pains. The point is that If IT and the business aren't a team working together toward the same goals, then the end result will be diminished. Real information systems are business-oriented, that deal with information management for collecting, storing, processing and delivering information cross-functional boundaries to improve decision intelligence.

Information Management is not just about IT, but about the business across the enterprise scope and IT is at the unique position to oversee the functionality underlying the entire organization. Whether IT needs to work within, on or across the systems depends on how you define the system scope and the integrated components of the system. The ultimate goal is that the business and IT can be fully integrated to ensure the whole is superior to the sum of pieces,

Too many IT Initiatives: Digital organizations are always on and over-complex, and IT is the linchpin. There are too many things on the IT plate today. Many IT organizations suffer from overloaded tasks and overwhelming information. That's one of the challenges a modern CIO faces today. There are short-term pressures and long-term concerns; there are emerging issues coming out on a daily basis, and it sucks up as many resources as they can. Information, technology, and other IT assets need to be centralized, re-allocated, updated or replaced if needed to optimize “people and process,” and accelerate IT performance.

There is no way to create a definitive prioritized list without more business context. To improve IT management effectiveness, CIOs need to become less technically focused (but not less technically literate), and far more business-focused, set up a prioritization process to survive and thrive from the whirlwind of daily busyness. The critical thing for IT leaders is to identify significant business problems and set the right priority to solve them smoothly.

Ineffective IT risk management and governance: IT takes charge of one of the organization's key assets - information. A failure to deliver because the IT function is so tied up with risk or its own governance rules is unforgivable. Sometimes IT gets obsessed with risk and ongoing governance, and it hampers the ability to deliver products or services flexibly and effectively. The CIO’s role among many things is to decide where to make IT investments, provide IT insights to ensure consistency and compliance, and performance.

IT governance is about how to manage IT, the leadership and organizational structures and processes that ensure the organization’s IT organization sustains and extends the organization’s strategies and objectives. If you ignore them, you open the whole organization to a different set of risks. Done properly, IT governance facilitates faster, better execution through visibility and effective decision making.

IT contribution is not constrained or limited to technology only, it needs to develop dynamic business capabilities for improving the overall organizational maturity. It is important to have IT resources, assets, and talent aligned with business strategies and objectives to have IT refined to the point that they are nimble, they can adapt to changing business demands in a timely fashion, and improve the overall IT management maturity.


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