Monday, August 17, 2020

Building IT-Enabled Business Competency

IT plays an important role in envisioning trends, preventing risks, interpreting business issues into technical solutions and building IT-enabled business competency. 

Organizations today rely more and more on information technology, information is the most invaluable business asset besides people, and technology needs will only expand to fuel innovation and drive business growth. 

However, in many companies, IT is just like a costly “magic” they know little about, businesses treat IT as a cost center or support desk and put very little effort to know IT better. Mistrust between business and IT creates silo mentality, generates gaps, and decelerates business speed. To reinvent IT as a strategic business partner, leveraging unique IT knowledge and capability to build IT-enabled business competency is crucial for long term business success.

Diminish bureaucracy and develop creative workforce: IT needs to provide a strategic advantage to the business line managers in which IT can make various organizational functions more productive and achieve its business objectives in any way possible. The first step is about forging close relationships with the senior executives and business managers to really understand their goals and plans for expanding their area, diminishing bureaucracy, and breaking down silos. The cross-functional collaboration entails effective communication, governance, value analytics, partnership, digital fluency, and people skills.

The epistemic value of information/knowledge management is to develop a creative knowledge workforce and cultivate the culture of learning and innovation. IT is about distributing and sharing intelligence on the scale and assisting the social and purpose needs of the company uniformly, fairly, and effectively. If the battle between business and IT is still on, IT could lose the opportunity to toot its horn the “right way,” and actually undermine how much intelligence/experience/skill was required for running a high-performance organization. With IT as a linchpin, the limited hierarchy works best in a creative environment where the free flow of ideas and their prompt implementation is a key element of business success, the well-trained digital workforces today are futuristic, flexible, and innovative, to achieve business goals with accountability at all levels smoothly.

Delight customers via digitizing touchpoint of their experience: Running a customer-centric IT would follow the principle to gain customer empathy. IT has both internal and external customers. IT can help companies keep in touch with their prospects and clients in a personalized manner by deploying a range of technologies that focus on improving the customer's experience and perception of business products or services. With customer insight based on reliable and ideally, real-time information, organizations can innovate with knowledge of “evident customer needs,” and show customers that businesses are making a significant investment to deliver to them products/services which more closely meet their needs accordingly.

IT leaders must not fall into the role of facilitating flawed or incomplete business initiatives or overcoming technology challenges only. Point out that customer inquiries are not just support related, but can foster new and better ways the application can perform and optimize every touchpoint of customer experience. When you really understand or attempt to capture the insight about what the customer actually wants, that is when you can really develop an experience that fits them and their needs or desires.

Develop new business models to create revenue streams: IT is in a unique position to observe broadly and explore deeply about their business and the related digital ecosystem. IT understands deeply the value chain of business, value chain of the industry segment, and value chain of the business ecosystem where it competes. IT executives need to become business leaders within IT and seek ways to create new business models, find areas (not just to automate) but to innovate, grow revenues, profitability, and spur innovation.

With emerging technology trends and abundant information, IT is the superglue to integrate critical elements into a set of business competency, fine-tune viable business models via clarifying related business structures and constraints qualitatively and quantitatively, becoming successful at both creating new forms of value deliveries and capturing from its existing forms. Modern IT organizations can cultivate the new attitude and fuse the fresh energy, take bold initiatives, increase its pro-activeness and willingness to take risks, pursue innovation opportunities, pioneer the development of new products, processes, and services for increasing profitability through enriching its competitiveness.

IT is no longer that island or corner for those who still want to live in their comfort zone! IT plays an important role in envisioning trends, preventing risks, interpreting business issues into technical solutions, and building IT-enabled business competency. The expectations for CIOs have grown multifold as well, they are expected to be visionaries and path-finders to pursue business growth opportunities, engage employees and delight customers, open new revenue streams and leverage IT to build the competitive advantage of the business.


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