Due to the exponential growth of information, changing nature of technology, and continuous disruptions of digitalization nowadays, CIOs seem to be always at the hot seat, and the saying about the demise of the internal IT has been around for years. In reality, the majority of IT organizations get stuck in the lower level of maturity, slow to change. Forward-looking organizations are reinventing IT reputation from a cost center to a value creator, from a static support function to a dynamic change agent; and from inside-out operation driven to outside-in customer-centric. IT is omnipresent and permeated into every corner of the organization. The industrial-based enterprise of the 20th century had run out of gas, and the digital enterprise of the 21st century has the new characteristics and DNA of innovation. Nowadays we are living in an information abundant world where technology is pervasive and the masses are looking for their own experiences to introduce new technology into the business. There are both incremental innovation and radical innovation. IT is often the driving force for both. IT plays a significant role in managing information-knowledge-insight cycle and fostering innovation by leveraging disruptive technologies and enriched information flow. But more specifically, how can IT build differentiated capabilities to become an information power center and an innovation hub?
The purpose of “IT innovation - Reinvent IT for the Digital Age” is to help business and IT leaders and digital professionals ride above the learning curve, reinvent IT as an innovation hub and game changer; reimagine IT as an innovation outlier; renovate a hybrid IT and digital organization; fine-tune IT as the digital whole brain of the organization; accelerate IT on the fast lane, rebuild IT as the business capability multiplier; empower IT as a digital change agent; and leverage the “alphabetic elements” to run a highly innovative IT organization for the digital age.
Chapter 1 Reinvent IT as an innovation game changer: An innovative and value-driven IT organization needs to understand stakeholders’ expectations and propose an innovative solution portfolio that corresponds to both demand and cost drivers with a focus on business priority and improve the overall business effectiveness, agility, and maturity.
Chapter 2 Reimagine IT as an innovational outlier: Visionary CIOs are often outliers who can step out of a conventional thinking box or linear patterns, to envision the future, help their organizations ride above the latest technology trend and leverage information for catching the new growth opportunity and delighting customers.
Chapter 3 Renovate a hybrid IT and digital organization: Running a hybrid IT organization is about taking balance as a management philosophy. In order to make a solid digital transformation, there are many seemly paradoxical, but indeed coherent elements in running a high-effective IT organization today. IT should combine the next practices and the best practices, strike the right balance of traditional hierarchy and flatter structure; keep the lights on,” and “doing more with innovation” management practices.
Chapter 4 Fine-tune IT as the “digital whole brain” of the organization: Because IT is the steward to manage business information, it is like the business’s nervous system to ensure the right information getting to the right people at the right time to make the right decisions. Digital IT needs to be the “Whole Brain” of the business. Be rational as the “left side of the brain,” and be creative as the “right side of the brain.”
Chapter 5 Accelerate IT on the fast lane: IT plays a pivotal role in driving changes and leading the digital transformation, focus on the fastest speed available because that is where the main threat to competitiveness. To speed up, IT needs to become an innovation engine of the business, as well as a business enabler to catalyze growth and improve organizational agility.
Chapter 6 Rebuild IT as a business capability multiplier: A highly capable IT organization is a business capability multiplier. IT is not just the sum of services or processes, but an enabler of business capabilities which can weave all necessary elements of the business into strategic capabilities and unique competencies of the organization.
Chapter 7 Empower IT as digital Change Agent: Change becomes a dynamic business capability in which IT is the key enabler. IT is not only the super glue but also an integrator to weave all important change elements seamlessly and make people change, process change, and technology change sustainable.
Chapter 8 Run a highly innovative digital-ready IT organization: IT is the business, to unleash the digital potential of IT, organizations need to understand that IT is not just technical or scientific, but also artistic and delightful. At the dawn of the Digital Era, IT needs to become a strategic partner of the business, to unleash the full digital potential of the entire organization.
Chapter 9: The alphabetic elements in digital innovation and IT maturity: A Digital-ready IT organization is a threshold competency of the organization, it is an enabler of business digital capability, goes beyond IT-business alignment, and move up to integration and engagement stage. IT can weave all necessary business elements, from A to Z, either hard or soft, to manage innovation and orchestrate a digital symphony.
Conclusion: The Art of Possible - from Transactional IT to Transformational IT: CIOs as business strategists have to pursue the art of possible - make a shift from mechanical IT to innovative IT, from reactive IT to accelerator IT, and from transactional IT to transformational IT. The art of possible is that it involves new ways of bringing together ideas and resources to create something novel. The art of possible is to deliver the value of information in helping businesses grow, delight customers and unleash its full digital potential.
Innovation is more about true knowledge acquisition first. Because if the organization has got that knowledge, it could accomplish a lot with less, and do more with innovation, and it could also use less than that 80% to achieve more than what it has today. IT needs also to ride above the learning curve, to fostering business innovation via leveraging disruptive technologies. Being able to become innovative or close is being able to think, and create new things based on its own needs, true knowledge is the optimal solution. To catalyze innovation, IT needs to ensure the business strategy allowing for digital speed, If you can innovate across the business, regardless of which function you are involved in, be it IT, HR, Finance, etc, then you can surely change the shape of what you deliver, not just how it's delivered.
Innovative IT can only happen if IT is regarded as a partner and given the role in catalyzing innovation and driving the business. However, the "us vs. them" mentality is often still alive in the management team within the organization. To ensure the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces, the business leaders and managers have to overcome silo thinking and empower IT leaders to manage information across functional borders and unleash the full potential of digital businesses. With the changing role of IT in a world that is increasingly more people-centric from a technology perspective, it is imperative that the CIO is a visionary as well. The role of the 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. More specifically, the understanding of what technology can help companies achieve. Everyone in the leadership team has a gift and the future business is very complex. Business models and technologies are changing very rapidly. There is no single person who is able to deal with these complexities and speed."Team Leadership" is able to build the future business and IT vision and, more importantly, to react very quickly.
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