Thursday, May 4, 2017

How to Rejuvenate IT via Overcoming IT Identity Crisis

IT rejuvenation is not just about creating a shining brand, but about building a consistent, trustful and innovative IT reputation.

It is the dawn of the digital era with an abundance of information and lightweight digital technologies.  Information is penetrating into every core process of the organization. IT plays a pivotal role in such a paradigm shift,  However, most of the business users or consumers lack a comprehensive understanding of IT. They either think IT as the shining technology toys /gadgets, or the help desk & maintenance center; they also perceive IT leaders as stereotypical technology geeks or arrogant IT nerds. To rejuvenate the shadowed IT image and fragile IT reputation, how can IT clarify its vision & mission, convey a clear & cohesive brand message, overcome IT identity crisis, and build a reputable brand to improve its own and the overall business maturity?
IT identify clarification: Often IT is overloading and understaffed, gets stuck at the lower level of maturity; IT leaders spend too little time on contemplating the fundamental of IT, such as: What is the IT vision & mission for your company? How does the IT department see itself contributing to the company’s mission? What are the products and services that are offered by the IT Department, and which value do they bring to the company? Is IT a competitive necessity or a game-changing differentiator? What is your IT organization’s focal point - the monolithic hardware, or the bits & bytes information; inside-out operation-driven or outside-in customer-centric? Transaction or transformation? Efficiency or innovation? Does IT limit the business imagination or IT thrives to achieve the art of possible? It is strategic imperative to clarify IT identity because business functions are looking for trusted IT partner to improve business/customer intimacy and drive digital transformation. With a clear branding message, IT can develop a more intimate relationship with the business to deliver what they need, adapt to changes promptly, and move up the business maturity effortlessly.

Embrace the full-color spectrum of digital IT: Traditional IT organizations are perceived as an isolated function with monolithic hardware boxes and black & white images. Though technology gadgets are cool and trendy, but IT organization is the opposite of cool; it’s kind of boring and out of fashion. Often business partners just treat IT as a cost center or support desk, and lack of interest to understand IT deeper. To rejuvenate IT, IT should communicate and present ideas and measurement that businesses are interested in, and show the full color of IT-enabled business competency. IT needs to break down those stereotypical geek images, and present digital IT with unique characteristics and versatile capabilities: IT is profound -There are times when IT will be the only party in the room with in-depth views of the business and technique know-how about the underlying functions and processes to build unique business competency. IT is innovative -an innovative IT produces unique, non-obvious technology-based ideas which lead to solving critical business problems or positions the business to act on opportunities in the marketplace promptly. IT is a driven game changer -running IT as a changing department which can help integrate all those important business elements such as process and digital technologies & tools into the building blocks of change and innovation capabilities. IT is inclusive - both IT leaders and professionals are diversified and high-innovative, with advanced mindsets and updated & dynamic business capabilities & skills. Modern IT organizations need to represent the full-color spectrum of the digital characteristics such as hyperconnectivity, super-innovativeness, ultra-intelligence, and high-nimbleness.

Make IT more visible, tangible, and measurable: Traditional IT organizations were running as the back office function which is invisible, it was doomed as a cost center which measures things only IT itself was interested in, the traditional IT culture was intangible, but enforced the stereotypical IT geeky image. It is strategic imperative to rejuvenate IT to get digital ready, and it is at the tipping point to turn the IT brand around.  Information Management helps optimize various business management, directly or indirectly related to long-term revenue. IT organizations need to move beyond the standard service level agreement and KPIs and start measuring the ROI for the multidimensional business value they deliver as innovators. There needs to have a comprehensive business justification for information technology investment and the longevity of investment including IT expenditure vs. saving.  IT priorities which reflect business value, are clear and no longer look arbitrary.

IT is a trendsetter for leading digital innovation and transformation, not a digital laggard which resists to changes. By overcoming IT identity crisis and shadow IT image, digital IT is trending towards becoming 'service' elastic and on-demand which moves faster, more flexible, and more resilient. When the organization truly understands that IT is not just technical, but rather business oriented, capability-driven, and people-centric, IT can rejuvenate itself as the growth engine and an innovation hub of the business. IT becomes more cool, visible, approachable, and measurable.


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