Sunday, March 12, 2017

Running a High-Performance IT with Digital Balance

IT can weave all necessary business elements, either hard or soft, visible or invisible, “push & pull” accordingly to orchestrate a digital symphony.

In today’s digital dynamic and technical environments where IT is being used more and more around the globe for revenue generating initiatives and the business is becoming IT. IT organization plays a significant role in both keeping the business bottom line and contributing to the top line business growth; leveraging the latest technologies to catalyze innovation as well as setting the standard for risk management. IT is also crucial to fix the handy, urgent business problems, and digitizing the touch points of customer experience for the business’s long-term transformation. Hence, the impact of IT organization depends on how it can strike the digital balance right and make the leap of digital transformation.


Push and pull: Digital drives all sort of innovations, proactively pushing ideas on how to leverage creative thoughts (soft) and the latest technology (hard) to drive revenue growth, increase business productivity, flexibility, and agility. There is the time you need to push forward for reaching the predefined business goals or objectives on time; there is also the time you should pull all necessary resources for creating the business synergy. It's possible you may have a hybrid centralized vs. decentralized approach; quick win vs. long term and "push vs. pull" for managing a smooth digital transformation. A centralized team focuses on long-term strategic questions, as well as small focused teams in specific departments tackle pressing business problems. The quick wins solve handy business issues, but the well-defined digital road-map focuses on building long-term differentiated business capability. The process of running a high-performance IT is adaptively rational, it has to strike the balance of ‘pushing forward,’ and pulling all resource for orchestrating a seamless digital transformation.


Visible vs Invisible digital forces: Digital transformation is driven by both visible (hard) and invisible (soft) forces, from multiple directions. Often the emergent digital technologies are imposing hard forces of digital disruption and change drivers. With the advance of the SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud) technologies, organizations can build integrated business platforms and the recombinant business capabilities more seamlessly, to shape products, services, and customer engagement. However, the high percentage of business transformation failure is often due to the “invisible force,” such as the culture - the collective mindset and attitude of the company. Metaphorically, culture is like the iceberg, In order to move up to the next level of organizational maturity, the culture needs to be changed as well to adapt to the emerging digital trends and pulling strategy execution towards the right decision. To fine-tune “invisible” business elements for striking the right balance, learn to seek divergent views before developing a convergent conclusion; work to see issues from multiple points of view. Then identify tradeoffs; make choices, while continually remaining open to discovering errors in one’s reasoning.  If you only take the visible business factors such as process or technology alone as an element of the strategy execution, you may miss the point and head to the troubles. Because, the invisible element such as culture, is the decisive factor for the success or failure of digital transformation.


Effectiveness vs efficiency: Efficiency is doing things right with minimum inputs and resources (do it right the first time) and effectiveness is doing the right thing by following the principles and leading in the right directions. Leaders focus on effectiveness, to ensure business having the vision and well-defined goals to reach it; while managers focus on efficiency, which is the relationship between how much time (or labor) you expected or planned to expend, versus what the actual was. The optimal internal structure, autocratic or democratic of the enterprise is the one which provides the greatest effectiveness and efficiency, and depends, in large measure, on the nature and purpose of the enterprise. At some point in the enterprise evolution, business effectiveness and efficiency are also correlated specifically when the organization reaches its capacity.  The next level should be on the effectiveness of improving effectiveness, which could implicitly involve efficiency of improving effectiveness, and ultimately strike the digital balance for the enterprise to thrive, rather than just surviving.


IT is moving up its maturity from functioning to firm to delight, running full speed with less friction, and strike the right balance to get digital ready.  IT can weave all necessary business elements, either hard or soft, visible or invisible, “push & pull” accordingly to orchestrate a digital symphony. A digital-ready IT is a thresholding competency of the organization for unleashing its full potential and improving its maturity via striking the right balance of effectiveness & efficiency, intelligence, and innovation.





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