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, May 24, 2017

The Monthly “Dot Connections Connect the Dots to Build Creative Workplace & Workforce May 2017

Digital is the age of creativity and innovation, and creativity is all about connecting the dots.

The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. Digital is the age of creativity and innovation, creativity is the most wanted trait for digital leaders and professionals today, and innovation is the light every organization is pursuing. Creativity is all about connecting the dots. Which dots shall you connect to improve digital professional quality and accelerate digital transformation?
 Connect the Dots to Build Creative Workplace & Workforce
Confidence vs. Arrogance Confidence is one of the most important leadership qualities to overcome challenges and deal with criticisms. Confidence is about having the right dose of ego to show self-respect, self-worth, self-esteem, self-awareness or self-actualization; but not about the overdose of ego showing arrogance or egotism. The management guru Peter Drucker has pointed out the greatest impedance to organizational success is too much ego or arrogance. This can be seen to encompass hubris. So, from the leadership perspective: What are the difference between confidence and arrogance? And how to become confident, not arrogant though??
Likability vs. Respect vs. Trust? Respect is based on being trustworthy and authentic. Likeability is subjective, people often like people who are similar to themselves, or have a certain charisma. Being likable or popular does not always earn you the respect. Trust starts with respecting. There are differences between likeability vs. respect. vs. trust?
High-Performance vs. High-Potential vs. Mediocrity ? Modern talent management is both art and science. However, most of the HR organizations still use static mechanisms to measure talent performance, mainly based on quantitative delivery, with ignorance of qualitative perspective, talent potential assessment, intangible culture effect, and lack of tailored solutions to reach the next level of talent management maturity. For example, as a talent manager, how do you differentiate High-Performance vs. High-Potential vs. Mediocrity, and how shall you treat them same by treating them differently?
Persuasion vs. Manipulation? As Drucker well pointed out: “You can only manage what you're measured.” Benchmarking and measuring are both science and art. There are many practical metrics and KPIs, but not every metric is created equal. The concept of leading and lagging indicators, as applied to the Balanced Scorecard, relies on an understanding of the cause-effect relationships between KPIs in the different perspectives. But what’re the differences between leading indicators vs. lagging indicators?
Complimentary Team vs. Competitive Team - How to Build a High-Performing Team? Digital businesses are hyper-connected and interdependent; the nature of team is also shifting from homogeneous setting into heterogeneous characteristic; the further debate is: Complimentary team or competitive team, which can build more trust and achieve the high-performing result? What's the strategy and tactics to shape a high mature digital master?
The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.8 million page views with about #3600th 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 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 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.

Setting Digital Performance Measurement/Management Principles

The real purpose of performance management is to provide business insight and monitor the progress of strategy management.

Enterprise performance management is about how organizations manage performance at both strategic and operational level to achieve the setting business goals and objectives. Selecting performance metrics is the main challenge in establishing a performance management framework. It is vital that there is a shared consistent understanding of performance measurement and how to set common digital performance principles for improving enterprise performance management effectiveness.

Selecting the right set of performance indicators is one of the most important steps in performance measurement: As the old saying goes, you can only manage what you measure. The process to select the right set of performance indicator includes to answering why you are choosing that, how you will use them and whether you have enough resources to manage information and capture the business insight via them. The big "WHY" behind your selection is critical because the indicators will differ based on the reason/underlying purpose for measuring performance. If the big WHY is not clarified, and decision is not made correctly, it will not contribute or help in improving the business result and overall performance management effectiveness, and it will lead to KPI calculation and presentation only. Often you can see problems in using metrics when people aren't clear about what information they want to collect and how they intend to use the information to support decisions. This can lead to people trying to measure everything they can think of and display the information in every way possible, with no apparent reason for any of it. So to put simply, you can measure everything, but it’s crucial to measure what really matters, and measure them right.

The Key Performance Indicators need to be aligned with strategic and operational priorities:
The struggle for performance measurement or key performance indicator selection is that they sometimes need a number of measures around the same issue to gain a complete picture (Triangulation - use varying sources, measures, and methods of collection/analysis for each.) And then the other pitfall could be that the volume of metrics become unmanageable, turns to be the end itself. The performance metrics are suppose to be the means to the end, and the end is how well the business achieve its goals. Otherwise, they will distract the business from laser focusing on the most critical business issues. Hence, it is critical to map metrics clearly to a strategic goal or object. It shouldn’t create ambiguity or conflict in the mind of the accountable party. And don’t forget to drill down the priorities into all of the business units so they can be aligned to business purpose through workflow, technology/systems, people, measurement as well.

Metrics shouldn’t motivate a team to game the data: One of the biggest problems with metrics, in general, is that, once you have them, The effective performance measurement approach should enable business managers or professionals keep track of the progress made toward the predefined set of goals, in a consistent matter. It is important to complementing qualitative insight with quantitative insight which can sometimes give you a better picture of reality so they can make better decisions and get better outcomes. The metrics shouldn’t motivate a team to game the data, or they filter and even distort qualitative result and prevent the business from seeing a real holistic picture. Hence, the well-selected performance indicators should be based on the alignment of strategy management and performance management as well as the comprehension of decision-management and performance management continuum.

Keep in mind, measurement is not just numbers, but stories: Selecting the right KPIs is one of the most important steps in measurement because this process includes to answering why you are choosing that, how you will use them and whether you have enough resources to manage data. And who are accountable to improve those performance results. Hence, it should tell an information-based comprehensive story. It tells you how well you implement business strategy; how smooth you manage changes; how fair your talent management is; how effective you make decisions, how bold you manage innovations, how productive your staff is, and how mature is the overall business manageability.

Enterprise Performance Management is an overarching umbrella for other management disciplines: Corporate Performance Management is a management control from strategy till shop floor. Performance management is not isolated management practices, managing performance means to translating strategy into operational terms, and mapping collective goals to individual tasks, to make the  strategy everyone’s everyday job and a continual process. It needs to be accompanied by an agreed standard, defining tolerances (upper and lower) for variation.  It needs to be fully defined with specifications detailing its meaning, intent, relationships to other measures, calculation, requirements, reporting requirements and ownership. It has to be manageable -if the result or outcome it is measuring improves, it doesn’t cause another result or outcome to get worse, to ensure the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces.

The real purpose of performance management is to provide business insight and monitor the progress of strategy management. It can tell the vivid data-based story based on “5W+1H” business navigation. The well-selected performance indicators can provide the rational view of strategy execution & business manageability and make continuous improvement both and create synergy in the qualitative and quantitative way.

CIOs as Chief Insight Officer: How to Leverage IT to Improve Digital Maturity

Organizations must leverage the emergent digital trends and the latest technologies to design, build, scale, and optimize competency and improve business maturity continuously and systematically.

Digital make a significant impact on every aspect of the business. The multidimensional digital effects provide impressive advantages in term of the speed of delivery and unprecedented business opportunities & risks. A digital organization can bring greater awareness of business ecosystem intricacies and the systemic perspective of organizational structure, business process, people dynamics, resource alignment, or technological touches. The challenge is to have a harmonized vision about organizational strategy, capabilities, and business maturity. CIOs as Chief Insight Officer: How to leverage IT to build digital competency and improve digital maturity ?

Identify and prioritize emergent digital opportunities timely: The unprecedented opportunities brought by digital technologies and increasing speed of change can lift up a fast growing business promptly, also reinvent a well-established organization to reach the next level of the business growth. There may be many elements of digital competency that are foundational to almost any foreseeable digital strategy so implementing them could be viewed as a valid preparatory first step in readiness for a strategic opportunity when it is recognized. Because the inevitable digital disruptions can ruin the brand image of a well-established organization almost overnight. Hence, a company must leverage IT and encompass all of the relevant disciplines in place and actively monitoring opportunities & risks in order to recognize and act on them in a time frame that will yield strategic advantage. Forward-thinking digital organizations today need to constantly adapt to the ever-changing environment, improve business competency, and seeing the digital transformation as an opportunity while keeping a holistic overview of the business are the core messages of the digital transformation.

Dealing with fast paced and ongoing change effortless: A changeable organization is to creating organizations where change is the norm (though not for its own sake) and happens the whole time thereby delivering faster and increasing market share. Change cannot be just another thing that needs to be accomplished. It has to be woven into communication, process, and action of the organization. Change Management shouldn’t be just an isolated effort, but an ongoing core business competency. The issues that will prevent change from happening are likely to be the leadership vision, communication, internal politics, current culture/blame, poorly aligned systems/processes/technology, too much hierarchy or centralization. The trick is also to find the balance between change direction control and real involvement of the affected employees. Change is a dance between top management and the affected parts of the organization where it must be clear who is responsible for what part of the change. The roadblocks to change include, but not limited to lack of direction. In today's work environment, it takes a lot of energy to break habits and outdated processes, but change is happening at a more rapid pace. If you make change part of your routine, then change becomes easier to deal with.

Managing information and technology effectively: Nowadays, every organization claim they are in the information management business. IT is the core competency. Foresightful business leaders are increasingly looking to the IT function to introduce beneficial change into their business models to improve strategic performance, enforce customer intelligence and to position the enterprise for future industry leadership, etc.  In a digital business environment where change is constantly happening, that handicaps the organization, the emerging digital organizations should leverage digital technologies and tools in enforcing holistic strategic planning, cross-functional collaboration and dynamic processes management. The aim of modern Information Management has often been described as getting the right information to the right person, in the right format and medium, at the right time, in order to make right decisions. The leading IT organizations now explore the consumer based model -running faster, nimble and resilient, with digital speed.  Digital IT is a business conductor in knitting all important business factors, to improve business changeability, responsiveness, agility, flexibility, and maturity.

Building business competency systematically: Organizations today are living in the digital sea today, you have to change with the "tide," but you also have to follow the well-defined principles which would guide you in decisions and how you relate to others, with which speed can you swim in the uncharted water, what competency helps you survive and thrive, and how to laser focus on the destination without getting lost. Organizations must continue build its business competency to stay compatible and evolve in a compatible manner with its environment. The digital competency they should craft is about adapting, optimizing, innovating, and improving business maturity, to achieve the desired effect under specified performance standards and conditions through combinations of talents and resources, processes, and technologies to perform a set of activities. An accelerating digital IT separates the exploitation of the existing methods and technologies from the exploration of the new way to do things via leveraging the emergent digital trends to design, build, scale, and optimize business competency and improve business maturity continuously and systematically.

High mature organizations are moving solidly from doing digital via applying digital technologies only to going digital and being digital via expanding digital both horizontally and vertically, across all business dimensions, to optimize underlying functions and processes, building business competency, improving both organizational flexibility and strategic responsiveness, and reach the high level of digital maturity.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Monthly “Digital Gaps” Book Tuning May. 2017

Digital Gaps -Bridging Multiple Gaps to Run Cohesive Business” is a guide book to help digital leaders and professionals today identify, analyze, and mind multiple gaps with multidisciplinary insight and holistic understanding. Today’s digital organization simply just can’t stand still. Bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge and a step-wise approach to making a leap of digital transformation.

Digital Leadership Gaps Digital means hyperconnectivity, fierce competition, and “VUCA” digital normality. Successful companies need to keep growing and innovating, and developing the next generation of leadership is one of the best ways to do that. The variety of management studies shows that there are significant leadership gaps for both innovation management and management innovation, as well as the radical digital transformation. The traditional cookie-cutting matching leadership development approach more possibly lands a homogeneous follower, cannot discover an authentic leader. And traditional talent pool is too static, limited and not dynamic enough to select authentic, creative, and energetic digital leaders who can lead more effectively in today’s complex global business environment. The change needs to come from the top to amplify its influence. If you are not taking steps now to shrink that leadership gaps, you will not be prepared to lead the digital business in the future. But more specifically, how to identify and close digital leadership gaps in order to improve leadership effectiveness and maturity.
How to Fill Three Leadership Gaps? Competition at the leading edge of business is fierce at the age of digitalization and globalization. Successful companies need to grow and innovate, investing in, and developing the next generation of leadership is one of the best ways to do that. Many studies show that there are significant leadership gaps for high potentials who will be tomorrow’s leaders. The cookie-cutting matching approach more possibly lands a homogeneous follower, not discover an authentic leader. And traditional talent pipeline is not sufficient enough to select heterogeneous, creative, and authentic leaders who can lead more effectively in today’s digital dynamic and global business setting. To put simply, there are many multinational companies around, but very few global companies; and there are many multinational business executives, but very few truly global leaders. If you are not taking steps now to shrink that leadership gaps, you will not be prepared to lead the digital business in the future. So what are the significant gaps need to be filled effectively?
Three Traits to Bridge Digital and Global Leadership Gaps? We are at the age of digital dawn, now the physical barriers can no longer be the walls to separate people from communicating and sharing knowledge and insight, are we on the way to recognize the best of the best, or simply blend the variety of perspectives into the new ideas and solutions, and more critically, what are emergent traits to bridge global leadership gaps, and develop the new generation of digital leaders and managers who can gain respect, win hearts and minds not just locally, but globally?
CIOs in the Boardroom: Which Gaps Shall you Bridge??There is no question that businesses need digital leadership in today's boardrooms, as information becomes the life blood of business, digitalization is in every forward-thinking business’s agenda, and globalization turns to be the new normal of business expansion. All of these brings the significant opportunities and responsibilities for the new breed of CIOs: Do you want a seat in the Boardroom, which gaps shall you bridge? Digital gap, information gap, innovation gap or global gap?
How Does a Senior Leader Deal With Blind spots in Decision Making? There’s knowing unknown, there’s unknowing unknown, so it's not a new topic about “Blind Spots,” everyone perhaps has some, but as a senior business leader (or any kind of leader), the blind spots will cloud your vision, trigger your negative emotion, cause your decision ineffectiveness, and screw your leadership competency. So what're the causes of the blind spot, and how to deal with them logically?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.8 million page views with about #3600th 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 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.

Setting Digital Principles for Effective Decision-Making

Fundamentally, an organizational management is a decision management and performance management continuum.

A decision is arguably a choice between two or more options. The greater majority of these options are circumstantially provided. Even with the best systems and processes, there are no “magic formula” to guarantee that you will take good decisions. Therefore, it’s crucial to set digital principles that allow different people at different organizational levels to make their own decisions individually to run in the same direction and meet the same objectives in a consistent and rapid manner and improve the decision effectiveness of the business. From the business management perspective, decision principles provide a foundation for decision-making scenario throughout an enterprise and inform how the organization sets about fulfilling its vision and goals.

Decision-making is the discipline across the art and science; gut feeling and information; confidence and humility: There is no magic decision formula. Decision making is an art only until the person understands the science. The science of decision-making is to make sure there is an effective decision process in place. You need to both frame the right issues as well as decides how to deal with them in a structural way. People need to leverage both critical thinking and creative thinking to ask tough questions for framing the real issues behind decision making. If the decision-making process is well designed & well executed, you have the highest probability of getting the best outcome. An effective process does decrease the risk of the wrong choice, not eliminate it. A good process can still get adverse outcomes. The art of decision-making is based on a sound judgment, mixing feelings and reflection, inner wisdom and self-regulation.

Team (with heteregeneous setting) decision works because they bring different perspective and information to the table: Teams decision works because they bring different perspectives and information to the table. They help balance out the biases that from which we all suffer. They help to generate more of everything (viable alternatives, criteria, etc.) all of which is shown to improve the quality of decisions. An effective decision-making scenario takes the good alignment of people, process, and technology. The process organized through the software helps to organize the goals, and stimulate healthy debates. As a result, the debate in the decision-making sessions cut out the bickering about the input and more about expected outcome to meet the goals of the group, and improve decision making effectiveness.

It is often said that a wrong decision taken at the right time is better than a right decision taken at the wrong time: Fast decisions are made of necessity. But a condition of benefiting from considered decisions is having a good decision -making process to use the time effectively.  Potentially, longer time frames allow the creation of more alternatives from which to choose, using both rational and instinctive knowledge. Time also allows a decision-making process to emerge by consent. Do some systematic analysis in order to create more updated processes to smoothie the decision-making scenario. Any decision made needs to be applicable in a timely manner. The decision-making always contains a part of the risk. Deferring decision-making is an essential aspect of human factors, putting off making decisions till tomorrow that are needed today is one of the signs of dysfunctional management. There are quite a few decision-making pitfalls, such as communication/decision bottleneck, out of the dated process, procedure, practice, culture, politics or leadership style, etc. The decision effectiveness is to make sure decisions are being taken neither impulsively nor too late, in order to take actions at the right time for responding to changes.

The blind spots are perhaps inevitable, the point is how today’s decision makers learn to deal with them seamlessly: The reason decision making is often a difficult task because it is contextual and situational; it takes a unique individual to understand a situation and relates it to the present, and there is no magic formula to follow. There is fuzziness in the decision because there is fuzziness in conflicting criteria, and there are hidden barriers on the way. As the matter of fact, there are so many reasons decisions could be bad, the effort should be to focus on the most dangerous causes of bad decision-making. .There is the danger of super specialization, which can deprive people of a holistic understanding of the situation in order to make effective decisions. Many teams still operate with an incomplete and relatively small view of the world. Thus, too often in an effort to keep moving forward, they jump to the wrong conclusion. There are also many senior leaders who fail to deal with blind spots because arrogance clouds their eyes; unconscious bias causes poor judgment, or they have a very homogeneous team who always “think the same.” In reality, many poor decisions are made by very intelligent people. It is the responsibility of each individual to examine themselves and their decision-making scenario to make sure they are open to true understanding for achieving decision maturity.

Decision maturity is to ensure the right decisions have been made by the right people at the right time to solve the right problems: The key decision factor is how you frame the issue (to be decided on), another factor needing more attention is who makes the decision, in particular, why is it that in business decisions are ultimately made by that person. Decisions are still made by people, so the challenge is to get the relevant people communicating with each other more efficiently, and making the best use of the digital tools. And for the same reason, you need a sound process to frame the decision, spec out your options, weigh them appropriately with the right people, to make sure decisions are being executed and not permanently questioned. Collectively, the effective decision can be made when people looked at an organization as a whole rather than single items. That means the effective decision making is based on understanding relationships between activities inside as well as outside an organization, having the right people with the right information, following a systematic decision-making process for making the right choices timely.

One significant effect of digitization is increased velocity, complexity, unpredictability, and a need for a faster response to changes in businesses based on effective and efficient decision making. Either individually or collectively, it takes practice, practice, and practice more to improve decision effectiveness and maturity.

Three Open Questions to Catalyze IT Innovation

The goals to ask open questions are to encourage thinking differently, provoke free discussions and attract the variety of answers for solving complex business problems.

In the considerably static industrial environment, many IT organizations only focus on the commodity level of services to “keep the lights on.” However, with rapidly changes, fast-growing information, and continuous digital disruptions, “Doing more with innovation” is the mantra to run a high-performance digital IT organization. Here are three open questions CIOs should keep asking themselves, their teams, their business partners, to brainstorm better ways to do things, catalyze IT innovation and drive digital transformation proactively.

Why Not: Traditional IT organizations often put emphasis on “HOW” to do the work, without spending sufficient time on the big why. Very fewer IT leaders can boldly ask “WHY NOT” questions to break down that “we always do things like that” mentality and discover more innovative ways to do things. To assess IT organization maturity, the bigger strategic question is what the function of IT in a company is - a value creator, an innovation hub, or a back-office cost center? IT is the only entity in the organization supposed to understand business entirely and oversee organizational processes horizontally, IT needs to be able to provide an innovative solution or supply a differentiated solution that contributes to both top line growth and the bottom line success of the organization. The CIO should primarily be focused on the use of IT to increase sales and the use of information and technology to enhance or transform products/operations. Through asking the “WHY NOT” questions, other business functions would look to IT for better solutions, enforce IT value proposition around the competitive application of technology in a rapidly changing market. Through asking open questions such as “WHY NOT,” IT leaders show the passion about information, technology, innovation, and positive change can do for the success of the entire company, IT can explore the art of possible, lead change and digital transformation innovatively.

What If: An effective CIO’s job is to improve operations to reduce the burden on the company while trying to stay current with ever-changing technologies and fast growing information. That includes optimizing costs, improving information systems, streamlining processes and providing continually expanding business solutions. To lead boldly, an innovative CIO should be inquisitive, to keep asking thought-provoking questions, to overcome challenges and run IT as an innovation engine of the business. “WHAT IF” inquiry encourages IT teams to think “out of the box,” explore the new alternative to solve either old problems or emergent issues creatively.  More often than not, technology is the disruptive innovation to create both significant growth opportunity or to bring potential risk in businesses large or small. From IT leadership/management perspective, it takes vision-based communication for CIOs to both convince and deliver the alternative view of IT, being a profit enabler and value enhancer.  The essential to the future of CIOs should have the capabilities to deliver the vision for their business, industry, and even bigger ecosystem. and to take the organization to the next level of the business growth cycle.

How about: Traditional IT organizations sometimes practice a command & control role with a bit arrogant attitude, thus, the business partners perceive IT as the change laggard and less innovative. Often times the business crowd wrongly equate IT solutions with concerns of expensive technical difficulties and the IT crowd builds more out of its own know-how than the need of the business customers. Until each and both parties transcend to a genuine hope and belief in one another, ‘he said, she said,” argument is still on. To reinvent its reputation, IT needs to become the equal and trustful partner of the business and provide “How About” advice based on “know-how” attitude regarding the business. Information is the lifeblood of an enterprise to capture the business foresight and customer insight. Therefore, the CIO is at a unique position to convey the invaluable perspective to board or business partners, not about bits and bytes of IT, but about the full picture of business and strategy of an organization, and make innovative“How about” suggestions based on in-depth knowledge, business acumen and insightful leadership/communication skills. In fact, today's high-effective CIOs are running their own operations as if they are a business in their own right, balancing costs, scarce resources, explore innovative solutions, and maximize the return on the IT budget and investment.

The CIO's leadership penetration is about the depth of leadership influence as well as the breadth of enterprise knowledge upon understanding business as a whole. The goals to ask those open questions are to encourage thinking differently, provoke free discussions and attract the variety of answers for solving complex business problems. So, an innovative CIO can lead boldly and manage effectively to create the business advantage.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Structural Elegance of Digital Organization

Digital is the gigantic puzzle with many misplaced pieces, you have to put them all in the right places to discover the true meaning and unleash its full potential.

Digital makes a profound impact from the specific function to the business as a whole and the entire digital ecosystem. Digital transformation is the scalable expansion toward multiple directions. Digital transformation is to optimize the whole, not the separate silos. Digital is the gigantic puzzle with many misplaced pieces, you have to put them all in the right places to discover the true meaning and unleash its full potential. The structural elegance of digital organization can further enforce its strategic responsiveness, operational excellence, and organizational maturity.

Digital organization is an integral business ecosystem with fluid structure and hyper-connected nature: Today’s digital companies need to be organized in running with quantum speed. They need to emphasize communication, participation, relationships, and realize that they will need to renew themselves periodically to cope effectively with change and have a fluid structure that responds effectively to the business dynamic. Digital organization is an integral business system with processes, policies, culture, work climates, people (employees, customers, partners, etc.) The whole business ecosystem needs to communicate, negotiate and cooperate with each other to re-invent. Looking at all business elements (including the human element) as an integrated, systemic system that, functions as an organic living thing. 'Individual' work and 'group' work cannot be done as a segregated form but within a 'framework' of an entire system or 'frame of reference.' Such a business system has a flexible and elegant structure, appreciate attributes such as 'readiness,’ 'ownership,' ‘integration,’ 'full open communication,’ self-renewal, customized designing as well as developing business 'partnerships.’

Ideally, the conscious recognition and complexity inherent in organizational systems lead to greater simplicity and structural elegance: Going digital has better chance to break down silos with a seamless integration and harness cross-functional collaboration. Collaboration happens in that space in between people in relationship receptively and thoughtfully interacting with interest and cares for one another's needs and activities so information and ideas can flow smoothly. Building and sustaining dynamics in a workforce are about collaboration with everyone at any level. Understanding and recognizing that everyone has a role in performing the digital music. Giving everyone a voice in how the organization and the people in it can prosper and thrive. It helps to build and maintain trust, transparency, respect, and flexibility. The more effortlessly you can align people inside an organization, differentiate products/services, the closer you can get to a stage to reduce of irrelevant complexity, analogy, and noise, and the greater you can execute the strategy with a predictive pathway, increase confidence, position a brand, and leverage resources to accelerate digital transformation.

The structural elegance of digital organization enforces self-adaptation, self-management, and innovation: The digital ecosystem is adaptively rational, it has to strike the balance of ‘keeping the order,’ and sparking the innovation. Consider nature and culture as to self-organized, self-adaptive, but interlaced environments and humans are vehicles of natural and cultural solutions. Self-adaptation is a phenomenon strictly linked to see learning (and knowledge) increases if shared and consumed. From the economic and organizational point of view, people are able to adapt themselves and their organization through a collaborative and peer to peer approach. In the organization scope, the digital flow can strike the right balance between orders (standardization) and ‘chaos’ (innovative organizations and their people learn through their interactions with the environment.) The digital organization should be able to assess to what extent the business has the capability and capacity to change; in terms of people, finances and manageability- the ability for a business to continue operating in the business-as-usual mode, satisfying its customers and continuing to deliver its commitments to shareholders, whilst putting itself under the pressure of substantial change.

The organization should keep tuning its structure and process, to become more adaptable and innovative, take advantage of the latest digital technology platforms & tools, and provide the space for people to exercise their talent and unleash their potential. Organizational maturity is not just about technical excellence or process efficiency, but also about structural elegance, business effectiveness, organizational adaptability, agility, innovation, intelligence, and people-centricity.

The Digital Board’s IT Inquiries

The digital board’s IT inquiries help to clarify the strategic role of IT in maximizing business potential.

As technologies permeate into every corner of the organization and information provides invaluable foresight to enable business growth, IT is no longer just as an isolated function or back office utility only. Nowadays, IT has to add more business value and delight both internal and end customers, and improve both the top line business growth and bottom line efficiency. Here are a set of digital board's IT inquiries.

How can boards oversee the IT strategy which is an integral component of the business strategy:   Due to the increasing speed of changes and fierce business competitions, many IT organizations are at a cross road to either being transformed into a value-added digital engine for their business growth or being irrelevant as a cost center only. Digital leaders including BoDs today need to show their understanding and interest in technology, never underestimate the power of knowledge. They should gain the strategic insight about IT. They need to become digital fluent as well. Boards should be informed on what benefit is being delivered by IT and aware of constraints and risks. There is no stand-alone IT strategy. There is the only business strategy with IT as a key element. IT is also a key enabler of future organizational capability and a critical aspect of continuing business activity in organizations. IT is business and IT strategy in an integral part of business strategy. Meaningful exchanges and engagement will deliver competitive advantage. So the board has to oversee the business strategy with IT strategy as a sub-component. They have to ensure management and governance are the interdependent and complementary disciplines which are both enabled by high mature digital IT, to build the long-term business advantage.

How can boards help to strengthen the weakest link of the business - either it’s about people or IT, etc? Due to the exponential growth of information and significant opportunities and risk brought by digital technologies. IT becomes a frequent hot topic in the boardroom. The board also spend significant time on brainstorming the technology-enabled business solutions and diagnose the root cause when the business cannot speed up as it should be. Leadership including directorship is crucial to strengthen the business links and weave them to the differentiated business capabilities which enable the digital transformation.  The worst thing to do is just put the policy in place to mandate it. At the dawn of the digital era, these are the days of business users becoming more tech savvy. Without collaborative communication, business goes around IT for new technology. This is always a sign that something is not going right, and business reliability gets compromised. Thus, the IT-friendly board should gain an in-depth understanding of IT, set the right digital principles, leverage technological visions, and pull all necessary resources for strengthening the weakest links, bridge the gaps between IT and business, and improve the overall organizational maturity.

Can the board help IT set up the right priority: Information is the lifeblood, and technology is often the game changer. Many organizations make a significant investment in IT. Because more often IT can either make a leap of the business to the next level of growth cycle or fail the business even overnight. BoDs need to gain the insight on the potential of technology but also the liabilities, to play an important role in making effective decisions on IT investment assessment, IT portfolio prioritization, GRC concerns. When BoDs shift from a 'risk-avoidance' to a 'risk management' & risk intelligence mentality, they weigh in risk, and reward, take prudent risks and find ways to mitigate risk rather than eliminate it and embrace business growth opportunities proactively.

The digital board’s IT inquiries help to clarify the strategic role of IT in maximizing business potential. BoDs can also capture the oversight of the IT plan which is the series of steps required involving technology that enable the business strategy, empower IT leaders to become strategic business advisors, as well as monitor the IT catalyzed business performance closely.