Welcome to our blog, the digital brainyard to fine tune "Digital Master," innovate leadership, and reimagine the future of IT.

The magic “I” of CIO sparks many imaginations: Chief information officer, chief infrastructure officer , Chief Integration Officer, chief International officer, Chief Inspiration Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Influence Office etc. The future of CIO is entrepreneur driven, situation oriented, value-added,she or he will take many paradoxical roles: both as business strategist and technology visionary,talent master and effective communicator,savvy business enabler and relentless cost cutter, and transform the business into "Digital Master"!

The future of CIO is digital strategist, global thought leader, and talent master: leading IT to enlighten the customers; enable business success via influence.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Can You Explore the “Blue Ocean” in Your Mind?

The profound mind is like the deep ocean.

Our mind is a complex system of complex systems and many of them are very difficult to understand and grasp. Like the blue ocean, often hard to predict, but full of treasures and mysteries. The thoughts piled with thoughts also like the waves cascaded with waves to push forward on the sea. On a bigger scale, there is the thought that we are creating our experience moment to moment, bringing our reality into existence as we go, just like those thinking rivers and thought streams merging into the sea. It evolves all sort of thought processes and creates strong brainstorms. The point is that, as the digital professional today, can you explore the blue ocean in your mind?

Creativity flourishes in solitude: Just like the ocean, our mind can be calm and beautiful, but it is never still, creativity flourishes in such a solitude. With quietness, you can hear your thoughts, you can reach deep within yourself, you can stay focus. Human creativity has a quintessential facet with the integration of multiple thought processes. Thinking things differently and making imagination roll into reality is creativity. Creativity is not just about being knowledgeable because creativity is at the intersection of knowledge and imagination, and it is able to expand the boundaries of knowledge. Creativity happens in both unconscious and conscious level as well. Creativity is sparked by an implicit rather than explicit underbelly of knowledge. Creativity is all about change. Creativity is a higher level of communicating or perceiving the beauty and balance of natural creation, or what being called the law and source of the natural phenomena. Creativity can start on an unconscious level (just like many miracles happens under the sea), and then when ideas start shaping, it is brought into our conscious awareness. Therefore, it is important to create conditions so that the creative potential can manifest, and innovative ideas can be incubated. It is surely not about “boiling the ocean,” but creating a healthy ecosystem for nurturing creativity and making innovation blossom.

Systems thinking, and thinking, in general, is more about discovery: Digital professionals today need to learn how to explore the variety of thinking in their mind, just like taking the adventurous journey to explore the blue ocean. You can dive into the underneath ocean for discovering unique creatures or precious treasures. Systems Thinking or thinking, in general, is about discovery, to understand things with widely different perspectives and what the holistic system looks like. It is the thinking process to understand the interconnectivity of parts and the whole and see the connections around us. It allows us to embrace uncertainty, identify interconnections and interdependencies, understand flows or the lack of them, and identify emergent business opportunities. It encourages looking at the wider aspects around any problem space and then understanding the effect of imposing boundaries within that space, in order to frame the right problem and solve it in a systematic way. Just like the journey to discover the deep ocean, System thinking provides better and more accurate understanding of the overall situation and problems, and hence better defining the problems and subsequently how you should go about solving them and in what sequence!

From linear to nonlinear thinking could be evolutionary: The concept of "non-linear" thinking as a concept is representative of what you term emergent properties. The digital world today with “VUCA” new normal is just like the blue ocean, not always calm, but full of turbulence and unpredictability. The reason linear thinking is in many cases, not so effective for solving the complex problem because there is always a temptation to use simple linear models to understand highly complex, nonlinear scenarios. So many people do not know how to connect the dots within complex systems, nor think dynamically, inclusively, and holistically. The route from linear to nonlinear thinking could be evolutionary. At the beginning, you often make a one-dimensional, linear, arithmetic concept of accumulation, but at the end, when you have gone through the mufti-dimensional analysis or process, nonlinear thinking helps you understand things systematically, to embrace the emergent changes or properties, comprehend dynamics, inductions or deductions, understand variables, interfaces, and interaction. One characteristic of nonlinear systems is that small changes can have large impacts. There is flexibility, abstract, and pliability in the concept of a system and system of systems.

The profound mind is like the deep ocean. Digital thinking is like the running river, or live steam, keep flowing, keep open, keep cleansing; keep touching, to prepare for merging into the sea. It allows the mind to seek new possibility or emergent trends. It requires that we move from mind SET to mind FLOW, from fixed mind to growth mind. What is needed right now is continuous change and flexibility of our mind, completely away from being set in a fixed way, to put another way, we have to learn how to explore the blue ocean of the mind, adapt to the changes and take the journey of digital transformation as a discovery journey.

Changeability as the Digital Characteristics

The effective Change Management effort should help to cultivate the culture of innovation and encourage the risk-taking attitude.

The digital organization starts with a changing nature. Uncertainty, ambiguity, unpredictability, velocity etc., are the digital new normal. The emergence of potential opportunities for exploiting digitization is likely to follow a nonlinear pattern as the pervasiveness of an organization's digitization journey increases.  The digital business dynamic allows the organization to morph as the business conditions and organizational capacities change to allow a better fit. But change is never for its own sake, one of the good reasons for the change is to keep the organization fit, and a fitting business has better changeability and higher business maturity as well.

Change Management in top management: At the enterprise level, successful changes are often linked to the DNA of the organization itself, the spirit of change starts from the top. It requires the top management to support for Change Management. But more importantly, it requires Change Management in top management itself. Sometimes, their management disciplines and practices through the process itself become a barrier for Change Management, because the transformative changes need to deprogram old mindsets, let go of the “voices from the past,” reprogramming the collective minds with new perspectives, norms, and attitudes. It is like to recode the DNA of the business, challenging, but establishing a new blueprint for how top management should create the digital future reality. It's the tough call to communicate and bring change management in the top. The sponsorship and involvement from the top are critical for Change Management success, especially for strategic change in the long run. Because the goal of change and improvement should look beyond immediate problem resolution. The focus should include actions designed to sustain performance improvement and anchor change as a new opportunity. It's about getting into actions in creative, positive, productive ways that educate, support and celebrate every emotional step of the change curve and collective transformation journey.

Strike the right balance between orders (standardization) and ‘chaos’ (change): Change is the new normal, and the speed of change is increasing, major changes in an organization’s ecosystem can have unforeseen consequences that negatively impact the company’s productivity and performance. Thus, Change Management shouldn’t be just a couple of random business initiatives, it has to be embedded into the multitude of digital management processes and become an ongoing business capability, to improve organizational effectiveness, responsiveness, flexibility, and maturity. Digital transformation is all about balancing all major business elements impacting change: People, process, procedures and IT. Digital organizations especially have to be more nimble about updating technology due to continuous business disruptions. And you have to maintain and fix any imbalance in those elements by managing them in a holistic way. Business frictions often stifle innovation and decrease organizational efficiency and productivity. Organizations and their people learn through their interactions with the environment. They act, observe the consequences of their action, make inferences about those consequences, and draw implications for future action. Workforce and workplace changes are a top priority in strategic planning initiatives in all companies: it can be difficult to find the right allocation of resources and talent to the implementation of the plan while simultaneously monitoring feedback, managing risks, and meeting obligations to staff and customers. The challenge for organizations is to manage its portfolio of relevant cross-border strategic business competency and organizational interdependence with the appropriate mix of enabling organizational elements, to adapt to rapid changes frictionlessly.

Running a real-time digital organization means high-responsiveness with speed: With today’s “VUCA” new normal, to survive the fierce competitions and thrive with the long term business advantage involve more planning, adjustment, and speed. Digital means the accelerating speed. Due to the high frequency of changes and digital disruptions, organizational change management has a strong role in business transformation, benefits realization, and strategy execution. The goal to run a real-time digital organization is to create synergy and achieve digital synchronization of the entire organization. Change cannot be just another thing that needs to be accomplished, it has to be woven into the collective communication, mentality, process, and action of the organization. It is important to understand what really matters and then put real horsepower behind these things, set the right priority to achieve well-defining goals. It is also important to leverage tools (systems/solutions) for Change Management, which are capable of increasing speed and consistency.

The effective Change Management effort should help to cultivate the culture of innovation and encourage the risk-taking attitude. It goes head-in-head with strategy management, to encourage people getting out of their comfort zone, reward innovative way to solve the old problems, build the differentiated business competency, and improve both individuals and overall organizational “Changeability.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Monthly “IT Innovation” Book Tuning: Running IT with Digital Theme July 2017

Today, innovation can happen anywhere, anytime; it expands both horizontally and vertically.

Within abundant information and emergent digital technologies, IT is a key component of holistic business mindset to reimagine “what is possible” - unleashing business potentials and improving business efficiency, effectiveness, agility, and maturity. The art of possible to reinvent IT for the digital age is to deliver the value of information in helping businesses grow, delight customers and doing more with innovation.

Running IT with Digital Theme

CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer”: Re-imagine IT with Digital Themes? IT is in the middle of a sea change because of the exponential growth of information and emergent lightweight digital technologies. Traditional IT organization is monolithic, isolated, stereotypical, and slow to change. Embracing digital is inevitable as that is now part of the reality. CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer”: How to reimagine IT with digital themes and reinvent IT to get digital ready?

CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer”: How to Improve Organizational Innovation Maturity Many say digital is the age of innovation. Today, innovation can happen anywhere, anytime; it expands both horizontally and vertically. It’s the business’s unique capability to gain a competitive advantage in the face of fierce competitions and business dynamic. More fundamentally, it’s the state of mind to think and do things from a new angle. Innovation is no longer “nice to have,” but “Must Have” differentiated capability of the organizations who want to stay competitive on the market. However, innovation management has a very low success rate, how to manage innovation effectively and improve the organizational innovation maturity?

 Three Aspects to Enforce IT Innovation? Innovation, as an individual process or collective processes, is about figuring out the better way to do things; it helps us adapt, improve, grow and integrate. From the business perspective, innovation is the mechanism through which you grow and evolve something to something great with higher value-add or ever breakthrough or something new or better based on a combination or modification of previous attributes or approaches. Businesses, especially the well-established large corporations and within that environment, innovations can range from small to game changers. As more often than not, information technology is the disruptive force behind digital innovations, and thus, forward-thinking IT organizations strive to become the innovation hub of the business. Here are three aspects of enforcing IT innovation and building it into the business competency.  

CIOs as Chief Innovation Officer: Take a Step wise Approach to Manage Innovation In essence, innovation is the use of something that is new and unique, and you are able to create its business value. Isn't that what innovation is all about: Do it better, differentiate yourself from your completion, run, grow and transform the business. For forward-thinking organizations today, innovation is not just nice to have but must have core business capability to compete for the future. Innovation is not just about technology as well, it's about people, culture, partnership, processes, etc. Innovation Management is an overarching management discipline which needs to weave many key business factors into an innovation playbook and take a stepwise approach for achieving its business value. ?

CIOs as Chief Innovation Officer: How to Deal with Those Innovation Paradoxes: From conventional wisdom, innovation is the serendipity. In the majority of companies, innovations management has a very low success rate. But innovation does not just accidentally happen, it can be managed in a more systematic way. Innovation is a differentiated core business capability. Exploring innovation starts with leadership, strategies, and culture, it can then naturally flow through to the customer's needs. Design then follows. Innovation leaders face dilemmas and have to deal with innovation paradox well. And the focus & rewards of innovation playbook is the core management discipline for riding innovation curve and achieving the business results.

The blog is a dynamic book flowing with your thought; growing through your dedication; sharing your knowledge; conveying your wisdom, and making influence through touching the hearts and connecting the minds across the globe. The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with about #3900 blog posting. Among 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The Digital CIO’s Scoreboard

IT Executive scoreboard needs to be information rich for helping IT leaders make effective decisions and enhance data-based communication.

Due to the overwhelming growth of information and disruptive nature of technology, IT becomes more and more significant in driving organizational changes and catalyzing business transformation. Digital IT leaders today must have the right mindset, skillset, and toolset to lead change in a structural way. From IT performance management perspective, You can only manage what you measure, IT Executive scoreboard is an effective tool to enable executives and leadership team to improve management of IT via quantifiable and qualitative data. IT Executive Scorecard should have pre-built key performance indicators that reflect best practice measurement areas across IT holistically. But more specifically, how to build an effective IT management scoreboard and set the right performance indicators for evaluating overall IT management health and improving IT organization maturity?

Operational excellence: “Keeping the lights on” is still fundamental. Achieving IT operational excellence helps IT build the credibility for doing things right, and improving business efficiency. Every new technology adopted must facilitate the business but also bring down the incremental cost of growth and the time to market. IT needs to expand the capacity and capability by improving operational efficiency and effectiveness with the performance indicators to resolve incidents and problems, increase in the number of problems successfully resolved and an increase in the number of IT products/services delivered without increased staff. IT cost optimization is also on the top priority list of the CIO's agenda.IT has to deliver the business solutions that provide the business competency in the marketplace with minimum cost and on time. Through a well-designed IT Executive Scoreboard, IT leaders can capture both quantitative hard number about cost savings and qualitative perspective of IT management health. Another reason to leverage IT executive scoreboard is to help IT leaders improve strategic communication because the well-defined metrics help stakeholders understand what is going on. Without measurements, it can be hard to tell whether attempted improvements make the situation better or worse. An effective IT executive scorecard helps IT leaders make effective decisions based on data, not just guts feeling, and improve overall IT manageability.

IT Innovation: At the higher maturity level, IT has to go beyond just keeping the lights on. IT leaders should put more effort on managing innovation beyond just commodity management and show high-level strategic value and dedicate more resources on innovation. A well-designed IT executive scorecard should include IT innovation performance indicators which include measuring IT innovation capacity vs. innovation performance. Innovation performance measurement focuses on measuring the quantitative business benefit and profitability from IT innovation and optimization. It helps IT management make effective decisions about innovation, change or digital transformation. It is also important to evaluate the soft variables (such as risk tolerance level, ideation, and creative capacity) which impact innovation capacity and help to build the innovation capability of business for their long term success.

Customer satisfaction: Digital is the age of customer-centricity. IT needs to transform from an operationally driven support function into an outside-in, customer-focused business partner. Hence, the IT executive’s scorecard should also showcase the customer (both business users and end users) satisfaction scores. (Retention, Efficiency, Acquisition, and Penetration) metrics are a powerful way to manage the business REAP dashboard which provides four core measures applicable to the entire customer base. Besides using standard metrics, you can build your own custom metrics that suit your organization. The overall customer satisfaction is based on information from multiple sources, departments or markets. Business needs to understand the maturity of customer-centric practices at the overall organizational scope (quantified across ALL measures) and at specific section levels, with the objective to develop the related business capability to improve customer satisfaction across all areas.

Future orientation: IT investment and management are crucial for the business’s future success as well. Thus, it is important to define the strategic level performance indicators which take into consideration the possible implication on the organization as a whole and the future orientation. The balanced score board is a concise report about strategy execution. A scorecard with well-defined performance indicators assesses the progress to strategic goals. It provides the business management a holistic view about the progress of digital transformation, and it offers a way for a corporation to gain a wider perspective on its strategic decisions about the future performance of the business. A well-defined scorecard should contain a good mix of outcome measures, or the long-term strategic value along with performance drivers to track the progress in the short term (operational value) in spite of capturing multiple perspectives, the balanced scorecard must still retain a strong emphasis on financial outcomes.

IT Executive scoreboard needs to be information rich for helping IT leaders make effective decisions and enhance data-based communication. It should also have an intuitive graphical display that is well laid-out and easy to navigate and to display the information that can be customized and categorized to meet the CIO’s specific needs. KPIs are grouped into the different buckets to reflect financial, service level agreement,  people centricity, and innovation measurements. It is an important tool inside IT leaders’ toolbox to improve their management efficiency and leadership effectiveness.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Monthly “Digitizing Boardroom” Book Tuning: The Digital Boardroom Digital Inquiries July 2017

The contemporary boards play the directorial role in driving changes, overseeing strategies, monitoring business performance, and they are the “mastermind” behind the digital transformation.

Modern corporate boards play significant roles in guiding businesses toward the right direction and achieve expected business results. Due to the “VUCA” characteristics -Complexity, Uncertainty, Ambiguity, and Velocity of the Digital Era, the directorship in any organization must have the agility to adapt to changes and build abilities to advise, inspire and motivate a group of people toward accomplishing shared visions and goals. Here is a set of Digital Board’s Digital Inquiries.

          The Digital Boardroom Digital Inquiries  

  • The Digital Board’s IT Inquiries The contemporary boards play the directorial role in driving changes, overseeing the business strategy, and monitoring business performance. They are also the “mastermind” behind the digital transformation. They should continue to ask insightful questions about IT to get digital ready.

  • The Digital Board’s Digital Inquiries All forward-looking organizations across the industrial sectors are on the journey of digital transformations. An effective board provides the guidance about what core to preserve and what future to stimulate progress toward. The board with digital savvy BoDs understand what's required and how as a high-level basis of going digital mean to the business, so they can make a significant impact on accelerating digital transformation with a premium speed. Here is a set of digital boards’ strategy inquiries.

  • Digital Board’s Digital Leadership Inquiries At today’s “VUCA” digital dynamic, organizations face both unprecedented opportunities to grow and hyper-competition or great risks to survive. Corporate board as the top directorial role plays a significant role in business advising, leadership exemplarity, policy setting, performance monitoring, and governance practices. Board directors as top decision makers require multidimensional thinking and bring different viewpoints to improve business effectiveness and maturity.

  • The Digital Board’s Digital Innovation inquiries The board with digital savvy BoDs understand what's required and how as a high-level basis of going digital mean to the business. So, they can make a significant impact on accelerating digital transformation with a premium speed. Vision is the destiny, it is basically a qualitative statement defining the "perception" of the organization, the strategy is the roadmap to get there. And innovation strategy is an integral component of the strategy. The effective board as a directorial role oversee the business strategy and provides the guidance about what core to preserve and what future to stimulate progress toward.

  • The “Talk the Walk” in the Boardroom: How to Communicate Well and Make Good Policies: The purpose of the board of directors is to direct the organization in the right direction and monitor its performance. The modern digital board has many responsibilities, such as leadership advising, strategy oversight, governance practices, performance monitor, and resource provision. The board directors as senior directorial roles have both privilege and responsibility to “talk the walk,” communicate thoroughly via multiple channels, abstract the insight from the variety of experiences, multidisciplinary knowledge and all sorts of feedback, set digital principles and make good policies to guide digital transformation smoothly.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with 3900+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify your voice, deepen your digital footprints, and match your way for human progression.

Three “P” Factors for Assessing Digital Fitness

The digital fitness is based on both how people think and what they are doing, their thinking capacity and learning agility.

Digital fit starts with people fit. People are always the weakest link in organizations. So, part of the digital transformation journey is to prepare people for the new paradigm shift and to recognize this is a crucial step. The point is that how you know for sure that people being called “talent,” are really fit, how do you know you are putting the right people in the right position to solve the right problems? Here are three “P” factors for evaluating digital fitness.

Perception: Perception is one’s interpretation of the reality. It is the way one’s eyes see the surrounding and one’s mind interprets it. People’s perception reflects who they are and which lens they apply to make the judgment of others.  No two person’s realities will be totally identical at the giving time. Your perception is an interpretation based on your own conditioning, insight, surroundings, experiences, leading you to make judgement. It reflects their thinking capacity (the breadth and depth of their thinking, etc) and mentality traits (positive vs. negative; egoless vs. egotism, etc). Hence, it is the responsibility of each individual to examine themselves and make sure they are open to true understanding: When they make a poor judgment or ineffective decisions - is it because of the mind too narrow or shallow due to too much stereotypical thinking, unconscious bias, conventional wisdom or stale knowledge?  When they lack the creativity to solve problems in better ways - is it because of the mind too closed or outdated and lack of learning agility and growth mindset? When they seem to get manipulated by negative emotions - is it caused by lack of emotional intelligence, etc. The cognitive understanding gap is even enlarged because each individual evolves into the “VUCA” digital normal at the different pace. Thus, it is important to understand people deep in the mindset level, to get to know “Who they are,” via their perception of surroundings. Because often it is the conventional wisdom or stereotyping leading to outdated perceptions which cause common problems and stifle human progress. To close the perception gap, the mind needs to be open enough to embrace other minds’ perception as well. To deepen thinking and make profound perception with objectivity, learn to not label others only based on what they look, but what and how they think; try to solve problems not based on symptoms or assumptions, but digging into root causes; try to make a judgement not just concluding “right or wrong,” but gaining deep understanding from multidimensional lens comprehensively.

Performance: Performance assessment is a common practice to evaluate the talent fitness in the organizational setting. Performance is well done of current assignments and demonstrated the capacity of doing great work. However, traditional performance management needs to be updated to adapt to the digital dynamic - always on with the increasing speed of change, to encourage talent growth, self-management, focus on future performance, not just pass performance. Traditional Performance management does not work well, because, for most employees, their results or outcomes are dependent on other people and other soft business factors. There are two aspects of strengthening the links between individual performance and business performance: first what the individual adds to the department, and second what the department adds to the business. Performance is not just about quantified work people have done. High performers keep engaging in current position with a perfecting mind. The true value of an employee is demonstrated when the employee acts as an ambassador, innovator or customer champion of the organization; brings the advanced mindset, knowledge, skills, abilities, and creativity that translates into expected performance outcomes. Creativity is one of the most wanted skill in the digital era, creativity in the workplace is fundamentally about the mental production of new ideas - not just any new ideas, but the creation of ideas that are both original and valuable. Creativity assessment can be the new angle for evaluating talent performance and identifying digital fitness. What is important in performance management is setting agreed upon goals and objectives, establishing key indicators, and then working with the employee so there is a common understanding of goals and agreement on how to measure them effectively.

Potential: Potential is about future performance, not past performance. Many traditional organizations lack vision and strategy, principles and practices to understand their collective potential. Performance keeps your lights on, but potential drives your organization up to the next level of the growth cycle. In high-innovative organizations, those people who are performing as less than their capabilities become the key element to success, but how can you identify and unleash the potential just like the gardeners nurture their plants? The potential is the ability and interest to take on more responsibilities in the future which is displayed by their innate aptitude, driven attitude, and continuous exploration. Individuals showing potential are distinguished usually by their mastery of new roles quickly and effectively, learning more rapidly than their peers, more innovate. A set of questionnaires to evaluate potential include:  How well does the individual continue to perform and grow in their current roles? How likely are they to take on new challenges at work, rapidly learn and grow into next-level roles, or roles that are expanded and redefined as business changes? How profound can they think? What are their innate strengths? How responsive can they act? How driven can they build the new skills and capabilities? Are they order takers or innovators? Which level are they in the Maslow’s pyramid? Are they on the path to self-discovery, autonomy, and mastery? Etc. The collective human potential decides your organization’s potential which can transform to the future performance of the business with the leapfrogging impact.

The digital fitness is based on both how people think and what they are doing, their thinking capacity and learning agility. The right people are the ones who possess the right mind with multidimensional thinking capabilities, the right attitude,  differentiated capabilities to move your business in the direction it needs to go. Therefore, pay more attention to these three “P” factors: Perception, Performance, and Potential.  The workplace needs to be designed to help employees at all levels within an organization develop their creative capacity to solve problems and exploit opportunities in new and innovative ways. Under such working environment, quality and creativity are rewarded, and human potential is unleashed.

Cultivate Three Healthy Digital Habits to Run a High Mature IT Organization

It is important for IT to cultivate the healthy digital habits for becoming the real problem solver, innovator, and change agent.

Due to the exponential growth of information and continuous digital disruptions, there is a high expectation of running IT as a digital engine and businesses change agent. The business wants customer-tailored IT solutions that enable them to be efficient in providing services and products to their market at the right cost to deliver profits to the shareholder. IT just can’t get stuck in “busyness,” to keep the lights on only, it needs to cultivate the healthy digital habits to run IT as an ‘orchestrator,’ to conduct an information-mature, customer-centric digital organizations

Practice innovative problem-solving diligently: Traditional IT organizations often have “We always do things like that” mentality, take the “band-aid” approach to fix the symptoms, for keeping the lights on, or taking care of immediate problems, with ignorance of digging into the root cause of real problems, or putting too little time and resources on strategic initiatives. IT needs to cultivate the healthy digital habit and become the problem-solver of the business. The real problem-solving is about seeing a problem and actually discovering a real solution to that problem, not just the band-aid approach to fixing the symptoms. The forward-looking organizations always continue to learn and strike the right balance between “old” and “new” way to do things. It is important to channeling creativity for solving tough problems. Especially due to the “VUCA” characteristics of the digital new normal, business problems become more complex than ever. When you encounter a tough problem, you need to apply the deep critical thinking for framing the right problems, and then solve them in a creative way. So, for many old and emergent problems, you have to challenge automatic assumptions that something needs 'fixing,'  It depends on the problem, how and to what extent it is manifesting in a way that cries for fixing, To 'just go ahead and fix it carries assumptions, particularly, assumptions about something wrong, limiting, or not working in some way that requires 'fixing,” from where it emanates the greater context for understanding things from different angles and figure out the alternative ways to shape better solutions. Thinking creatively about a problem requires being close to the problem, it requires context and intangible variables. Being a great problem-solver also means that IT can leverage the necessary information to predict the upcoming risks and help the business prevent the potential problems. Problem prevention is always superior to fixing, it is supposed to be the main principle for problem management.

Set IT management priority wisely: Many IT organizations spend the high proportion of time and resources on transaction-related activities. They are often overloaded and understaffed, get trapped into “busyness,” overwhelmed with too many projects or change initiatives, and overloaded with short-term business concerns. Therefore, setting the right priority wisely is a good habit for IT leaders to run a highly effective IT organization. Keep in mind, CIOs don't set priorities in vacuums. Rather, they'll use the enterprise's strategy and business objectives to determine which capabilities are needed to enable it to achieve those objectives and then build or solidify those capabilities with the prioritizing skills. A high mature digital IT needs to understand stakeholders’ expectations and propose a service/solution portfolio that corresponds to both demand and cost drivers with a focus on business priority and building unique business competency. A good place to start is by trying to get all parts of the business on the same process for proposing, justifying and prioritizing IT management portfolio. The CIO can only set the right priority choice and speed up to drive changes if they have the information available to them and proactively understand businesses and customers first to avoid changing for the technology’s sake.

Connect cross-functional dots fluently:  The traditional boundaries of business functions are disappearing or becoming very murky in the digital organizations empowered by digital technologies today. Organizations are at a crossroads where the segregation or silo of business units are at a need to reach across the aisles and respectively work with each other. Each business function brings a unique perspective and a set of skills to the table. Effective IT management means understanding every island of operation and every workflow process smoothly. Hence, it is also important to cultivate the good habit of connecting cross-functional dots fluently. The hyper-wired IT can focus on driving, enabling and orchestrating business changes and digital transformation in the areas of integration of best-of-breed tools/services and innovation in the overall strategy of the enterprise. To make the link strong and the outlook clear is to empower the IT team and make them think through the business world and from customers’ perspective while working on the customer-centric solutions. Digital IT transformation is the journey to shift from enterprise IT for standardization to experiment the consumerization of IT for harnessing personalization; from running IT with siloed management mentality to practice holistic thinking with hyper-connected and hybrid digital practices.

Digital is the age of options, it provides the opportunity to think the new way to do things, so it forces IT leaders to be proactive and get really creative in how they orchestrate and implement change, cultivate a set of digital habits, practice, practice, and practice more on running a high-innovative digital IT, to ensuring IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next, do more with innovation, and solve all sorts of business problems innovatively.