Tuesday, July 11, 2017

CIOs as “Chief Insight Officer”: Three Dimensional IT Maturity

IT has to expand its impact in every dimension to improve the company’s operational excellence, business responsiveness, flexibility, digital fluency, and resilience.

We live in an information and technology world and every day more and more technology affects the way we live, think, and work. The overwhelming information is permeating into everywhere of the business, IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. Therefore, the digital IT leaders today must move away from being a pure IT manager, and to become a trustful business partner as well as an insightful business strategist, to help their organizations t"playing to win" not just trying not to lose, and to run IT with high maturity.


Intellectual maturity: IT is like the digital brain of the business, to ensure the right people getting the right information to make right decisions timely. Information management is about the ability to process information and abstract the valuable business insight to capture the business opportunities and risks. It entails storing, organizing, retrieving, acquiring, securing, maintaining, updating, distributing, sharing, and achieving information. IT is the nervous system of the organization to help the business achieve intellectual maturity. Because it's important to identify how information is associated with the valued tangibles of businesses, products, and resources, as well as capture the business foresight and customer insight for the business growth. IT stands out as it can abstract business and customer insight from abundant information, and IT has to step into businesses with knowledge and confidence as a strategic business partner. Digital IT leaders should focus on running an “I” information driven IT to stand out as a value-added function by managing information effectively and efficiently, bring to the table tailored solutions that meet customers’ needs, as well as improve the overall business’s intellectual maturity, while reducing the cost to market, without sacrificing of strategic goals and the long-term business perspective.


Digital proficiency: Organizations across the vertical industries are on the journey of the digital transformation. Businesses will be more successful when they realize that one of their greatest strengths will be their multifaceted digital proficiency to scale up and shift from “doing digital” to “being digital.” IT plays a critical role in making the quantum leaps of digital transformation. A digital IT organization with high digital proficiency plays a crucial role in building a high-responsive, high-intelligent, and high-mature digital business. If traditional organizations are often operated inside-out based on inefficient processes or deficient resources, and then digital businesses should focus on building capability and proficiency via outside-in customer lens, to orchestrate a digital symphony. The business goals of IT is about leveraging information and technology to lower costs, improve operations, and increase revenue. IT plays an important role in interpreting business issues into a technology solution, leverage necessary resources to solve the well-defined business problems. An IT organization with digital proficiency can devote more attention to what organizations really care about --leveraging information for gaining business insight, and putting technology to business advantage.


Innovation Excellence: To improve IT maturity, CIOs must be able to think out of the traditional IT box, connect wider dots interdisciplinarily for doing more with innovation. This requires different CIO management styles, organizational setups, and management focus. Smart IT organizations know that innovation and maintenance operations are very different and it will create a different unit for innovation within IT running at different speed, build a balanced innovation portfolio including breakthrough innovation, evolutionary innovation, and incremental innovation. From IT leadership perspective, the role of the digital CIO should be able to envision not only where a company believes it is going, but how it will get there, and how it might be missing out on opportunities because of limitations on understanding of disruptive technology and information value. IT can achieve the innovation excellence if IT is regarded as a strategic business partner and given the role in catalyzing innovation and driving the business transformation.


IT maturity is proportional to the overall business maturity. There are very few businesses today can state that IT does not play a significant role in the day to day operations or even the long-term strategic positioning. IT has to expand its impact in every dimension to improve the company’s operational excellence, business responsiveness, flexibility, digital fluency, and resilience. A high mature digital IT organization can catalyze changes, do more with innovation, build business competency, and make a leap of the digital transformation.


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