As a CIO and CTO, I even have been facing the challenge to style, build and deploy smart systems which may flex and scale with the business and help the business processes to deliver optimum efficiencies possible.
While the mandates from the highest management and from the peer CXO’s is extremely clear, the journey to achieving real tangible success depends on several factors. During this article I might wish to affect these challenges and see if we will collaborate as practitioners to seek out smarter solutions for an equivalent.
IT for IT
Let’s start with the IT Function first, because if we don’t transform IT we cannot enable or help our peers within the business to deliver their corporate objectives. Also there has been a standard wisdom that charity begins reception. We'd like to review what delivery processes, organizational competencies, skill sets, tools, techniques, architecture principles, team collaboration exists in our own function. We'd like to style and build a function aligned to the industry sector that we exist for. For e.g. a B2C organization needs a fundamentally different approach than a B2B. It should also vary counting on the dimensions, geographical spread, age, market position, maturity cycle, future aspirations (if the board level strategic vision exist?) etc of the business itself. Traditionally it's been an asset focused function. With changing tech developments and innovations the services mind-set transformation of IT may be a journey of sorts itself.
"Smarter systems need smarter people to extract the worth and generate successful business outcomes"
Building and leveraging supplier relationships to reinforce the IT function delivery capability is becoming more and more important as its very difficult for user organizations to take care of such skill pools and keep them up- to-date in the least times. this is often both a boon and a curse as by external augmentation we will deliver faster but the prices of delivery is higher and fraught with quality concerns. Supplier performance at optimal costs is one among the highest 5 challenges of all CIO’s / CTO’s that I even have met in the last 20years.
Every organization features a unique outlook and perspective towards their technology and IT functions. There’s considerable degree of variation of the worth perception. Transforming that perspective does take time as we'd like to struggle with IT transformation in parallel to delivering the BAU and new digital tools. Nowhere, can we get the freedom of stopping from delivering to enhance the IT Services. I think morphing into services focused function while continuing to steer and deliver digitalization is the key characteristic of a successful IT for IT program.
IT for Business
IT endures an enigma from its past breakdowns in terms of responding quickly to business requirements. This reaction time and rate is additionally something which needs striking a fine balance, as an excessive amount of speed and not thinking through a number of the TCO aspects, future scalability of the platform, appropriate fit the business, etc. can cause lack of future sustainability of the deployed solution rendering it as a legacy application dumped by users and moved on to next. Too slow, and therefore the business will find alternate short cuts/shadow IT solutions internal or external which can cause pushing the IT function value lower into the business value chain. These cycles of delivery case studies within the organization often vary from function to function. The adaptability to smarter digital processes enabled by technology solutions varies within the organization and one among the prime factors of that as per my personal experience are the degree of technology acceptance and appreciation, and to some extent personal exposure of the top of the function.
Every technology adoption pitch wont to have one common message in their slide deck “this program must be supported by the highest management.” I want to believe this within the early years of my career. What it implied was that command and control is extremely hierarchical. The new age innovative corporations now put more emphasis on flatter and network sort of organizations wherein creativity and innovation has maximum effect closer to customer delivery processes. With this approach now, any digital program got to have a genesis from the grass roots levels to enhance the KPI’s of the worth chain workflows. Sometimes what must be transformed isn't visible to several levels up as they're far away from the realities of the top processes. They’re mostly influenced by IT Marketers selling their dreams. Hence truth and tangible drive and wish identification for change has got to be felt strongly by the center level of the organization and that they got to lead the CXO community. IT function got to align and collaborate with these champions of change and help them achieve the outcomes which may move the needle for the business performance. Planning and organizing a digital competence program across the mid and lower levels of the organization can help drive the general digitalization agenda.
The digital competency across the organization both in IT and in business is that the key success factor for achieving a sustainable adoption of a digitally transformed business operation. Smarter systems need smarter people to extract the worth and generate successful business outcomes.