Friday, June 4, 2021


With fast-paced changes, IT is no longer just the tangible hardware boxes which are heading into the commodity, but a silver lining to value creation.

The digital world is so data-driven and information-intensive, technology needs will only expand, and most likely expand hyperbolically. In fact, Information Technology is impacting every business unit and is becoming the driver of business change and digital transformation. 

To truly reach the premium IT management, Digital IT organization should be more robust and antifragile than ever. IT management needs to be working hard to transform from a cost center to a value center by demystifying the IT investment puzzle, developing and presenting the measurable IT-driven business value.

Continuous innovation of IT enabled products and services: When IT has both internal customers - employees, and end-customers - who buy the goods or services from their company, it needs to leverage data mining tools to really understand or attempt to capture the insight about what customers actually want. IT becomes a competitive business advantage when it can reach the “long-tail” customers by introducing new products or new methods of production, opening new markets or utilizing new resources, leveraging digital variety of collaboration tools for brainstorming and gaining new ideas. The best way for IT to help win customers’ hearts is to make the most of Information/ technology "invisible" to customers, fluently mix the art and science in trying new technologies to design intuitive products and services, create the optimal business value, and build a strong brand with increased market shares.

IT has to oversee the full set of business requirements to ensure the cohesiveness and to determine all the customers, users, and stakeholders and obtain their involvement, to make better investment justification and run IT as a business inside the business. IT-led business initiatives provide the greatest return; and which should be invested in the future. IT as a multiplier will also enable operational excellence, business agility, new services/products delivery, workforce innovation, and customer experience optimization. Digital information technologies can be very helpful in strategic analysis and handle strategy execution intensity in a structural way.

Organization-wide prioritization of Information technology: Organizations are highly dependent on IT executives who make the proposal to update the technology based on the needs of the business. A prioritization roadmap helps IT management prioritize across all projects, so they know which projects should get an increment of analysis and design effort, assigning resources scientifically and manage a balanced portfolio effectively. Top business leaders as the pure technologists will fail, but those who already speak the language of business value are at a better place.

Technically, prioritization starts with a right mindset to focus on the most critical challenge business needs to overcome, and also engage employees by co-setting their work goals which are stretched out, but not too stressful. A well-set prioritization roadmap helps CIOs make a priority choice based on ROI and calculated risks, enabling the management to have a respected intra-organizational agreement of priorities and resources, keep the teams and employees focusing on the most important things, and boost the energy and excitement to achieve the ultimate business results. The best IT leaders are focused on success at all levels - from the success of their own team to the success of the organization, and even the business sector.

Investment in IT systems: With exponential growth of information and interdependence of modern businesses, Information, technology, and other IT assets need to be centralized, re-allocated, updated, or replaced if needed to optimize “people and process.” IT is not a function that can be handled only inside the IT department or by IT managers only. Some IT organizations are maintaining legacy apps at the most basic level, not carrying out upgrades and systems that were decades outside the manufacturer's support, thus increasing business risk and their costs of maintenance. Consequently, no one knows if those legacy systems are still contributing to the top and bottom line or not and by how much. Often the disconnect part is the bigger issue that causes dysfunctional IT systems, enlarges IT-business speed, and slows down the speed of business change and innovation. The process of changing a good business idea into an effective IT solution has become awfully complex and messy in many larger organizations.

Investment in IT systems wisely is strategic in building business competency for the long run. Ideally, the responsibility for evaluating the performance of IT investment lies with the C-Level/board leadership team. The logical investment scenario helps an organization assess whether the business improvement associated with technology is the right investment to be done in the first place, and ensure the expected return on investment. The customer satisfaction assessment includes things such as IT resources consumption, growing tendencies, main complaints, SLAs, customer’s touch point digitalization, NPS, etc.

Investment in staff with IT expertise: We live in a time of rapidly changing technology and business dynamic, growth minds, new skills, or digital capabilities are needed every day, this is particularly true for IT professionals. The IT knowledge life cycle has been shortened due to the changing nature of technology. Thus, when assessing talent, more dynamic and balanced approaches are needed...There are ever greater abilities to create engagement for achieving desired business outcomes, such as employee engagement, business partnership, employee engagement, financial health, and shareholder delight, etc. instead of spending all the time on total IT expense discussion, human capital investment is important to unlock the full organizational potential. Return on Investment should be expanded into a broader perspective which usually cannot be measured fully in time and such as employee satisfaction, creativity, teamwork or culture evolution, etc.

Most people that enter this topic think of the transient skills of yesterday’s technology or the current product versions. They fail to grasp the root of the matter which is a person's ability to learn quickly and adapt prior knowledge to new experiences. Actually, training and talent development is an integral part of people management. The question is to what extent that the trained employee wants or commits to implement what s/he has learned. Otherwise, it will be considered as a waste of time and money on the company side. It is important to expand the talent pipeline, innovate talent management and performance management, attract and sustain the bright, capable and positive people and bring wisdom to the workplace. It is not easy to calculate the ROI especially on soft competency. It takes time to monitor and prove it.

Development of a knowledge management system: Information is processed data, knowledge is abstracted information. Due to the exponential growth of information, the multitude of information formats, and risk/compliance concerns; managing knowledge becomes more challenging but critical for running a smart business. In many legacy organizations, their methods and procedures/knowledge base were so large and their internal search capabilities so limited that using it was a dreadful task. Even in a small firm, variations between the amounts and types of data needed to support different lines of business can be impossible to efficiently rationalize from an IT/systems perspective.

Knowledge is more like a commodity. Only through sharing and updating can it be refreshed and refined into insight and wisdom. If knowledge is not flowing smoothly in the organization, figuring out the causes is a significant contribution to knowledge management. As many aspects of knowledge management cannot be solved by technology only. Thus, information/knowledge management needs to be organized with a more holistic discipline via effective platforms and tools. look at all the present collaborative processes already being used to evaluate them for improvements, to enhance knowledge sharing, decision making, and follow on actions based on the decisions made.
With fast-paced changes, IT is no longer just the tangible hardware boxes which are heading into the commodity, but a silver lining to value creation. Process, technology, culture, capability tuning, etc, are all important components and tactics to get the organization from here to there for adapting to over-complexity and fast-pace of changes. With the advance of digital technologies and fast growing information, organizations can build integrated business platforms, capture real-time business insight, and integrate organizational processes into differentiated business competency seamlessly.


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