Friday, June 26, 2020

The “Highs & Lows” of IT Digital Transformation

IT management has to work both in IT and on IT, understand the “highs and lows” factors, deliver the best solution to the business problems which meet the business’s requirement.

With robust digital technology and pervasive information influence, business initiatives and digital transformation, today nearly always involve some form of technology implementation and information facilitation in order to solve problems efficiently and improve the overall business responsiveness and manageability.

However, IT management is challenging, there are learning curves and skill gaps, and there are “highs and lows,” and “ups & downs” on the journey of IT digital transformation.

High Performance, Low Cost: Many traditional IT organizations have the history of being a very expensive cost center, often with the little demonstrable value that typically misses its commitments. To keep IT relevant, IT performance effectiveness is about how to qualify the business result brought by IT-enabled business initiatives, taking continuous improvement practices to guide the team in understanding the purpose of performance and measurement management. Ideally, every new technology adopted must facilitate business but also bring down the incremental cost of growth and the time to market.

To improve business performance and keep digital fit, IT management needs to be in the continuous tuning mode through consolidation, modernization, integration, and optimization. IT needs to continually build business capacity and optimize cost (reducing the cost of “keeping the lights on,” improving margins, or freeing up capital for new ventures, etc.) Successful capacity planning and resource management are critical to ensuring that resources are available before they are needed to drive business performance cost-effectively. IT metrics have to evolve from being a cost center to becoming a revenue generator. The only way to do this is to show a clear link to top executives between IT performance and productivity/ top-line revenues.

High Quality, Low risk: Modern IT organizations are a complex business system, IT quality management ensures that IT products or services are consistent to meet customers’ satisfaction. Quality is defined by a number of factors, and to effectively lead an organization into good practices to focus on quality attributes takes work and a level of credibility within the organization. Where there are ineffectiveness and inefficiency in business management, there are quality gaps existing. The quality check of IT management is to ensure IT is the enabler and even a game-changer of the digital transformation.

Keep in mind though, the long-term IT product success will require maintainability, reusability, scalability, etc, lowing IT overhead and technical risk. IT leaders need to have “T-shaped” talent, otherwise, they may not be effective to lead technology-savvy IT staff if they have little understanding of the technology they are responsible for. They need to have the technical depth and business acumen to effectively manage IT staff and supplier challenges, provide on-the-spot rough estimates to the C-team, sniff out looming technical risk/crises, and improve IT organizational transparency and maturity.

High Manageability, Low Bureaucracy: IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. IT cannot architecture itself in isolation because IT management is the business of the entire company. IT has to set priority right, keep improving IT manageability and speed. In high-performance organizations, the selection of roles is done automatically and naturally, focusing on creating the right atmosphere in which people can take ownership of their processes and participate in various activities to boost performance and drive progressive changes.

The biggest challenge for CIOs is keeping up and stepping up, breaking down silos, and lowering bureaucracy. Generally speaking, bureaucracy is correlated with a mechanistic view of the organization system based on a hierarchy of authority and division of workforce functioning in a routine manner. The digital IT organizations should be a complex, but flexible system starting to appreciate business attributes such as readiness, ownership, integration, open communication, customized structuring, and multifaceted partnerships, to streamline idea flow and increase revenue stream.

Many IT organizations are at the crossroad - to drive change or become irrelevant. The idea that the IT organization is overlooked as a digital driver comes at an odd time when you consider the robust new technology prospects. IT management has to work both in IT and on IT, understand the “highs and lows” factors, deliver the best solution to the business problems which meet the business’s requirement or tailor the customer’s needs and manage a seamless digital paradigm shift.


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