A few nights ago I found myself lamenting the disappearance of the Renaissance man - those polymaths whose knowledge spanned the sciences, arts, languages, philosophy and theology and could bring those disciplines together to create magnificent pieces of art and remarkable inventions.
I was listening to journalist Tom Ashbrook interview the writer and journalist Walter Isaacson on his new book about the genius of Leonardo da Vinci. Luckily, Isaacson has also written a book about Steve Jobs and could demonstrate in the interview that, even in the digital age, there is creativity in technological innovation. Indeed, my further research turned up another book by Isaacson: “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.”
According to Wikipedia: “The book summarizes the contributions of several innovators who have made pivotal breakthroughs in computer technology and its applications—from the world's first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace, and Alan Turing's work in artificial intelligence [The Imitation Game], through the Information Age of the present. Although his book's focus is on individuals, Isaacson reminds readers that innovations are often the product of group collaboration.” From individual, brilliant bits of ideas and inspiration to a reality we all enjoy and depend on.
Let’s look at digital business in this context. How do we ensure inspired, coherent and intelligent strategies can hit the ground running? Too often good strategies fail due to lack of effective implementation. There is a gap between strategy and execution. A gap that hinders you on knowing whether approved projects are being executed on, whether projects are delivering what was planned and if performance goals are being met.
One way of overcoming this gap is to create closed loops between the systems used for IT strategy and planning with those used for IT operations. Best practices in IT management were long focused on individual IT management disciplines with efforts directed towards defining and establishing processes, capturing the required data and implementing appropriate tools. This created efficient and effective, yet siloed, practices within IT.
Today’s digitalization-driven business environment requires an agile IT that can deliver quickly. IT practices must strive for greater integration to meet the demands of digital business. Working like a team of experts, each “specialist” system is focused on its own domain while collaborating with other systems to hand off and receive required information. Standards have done much to promote this interdependence, bringing greater synergy into the IT complex and greater value to the user. And as we take greater strides towards the Internet of Things and the API economy, integration is key.
I encourage you IT strategists and planners responsible for the success of your company’s digital strategy to focus on closing that strategy-to-execution gap. Find out what valuable insights your IT operations tools can deliver to keep your strategy execution on task. If you need some ideas how, watch our webinar, “Bridging the IT strategy and IT execution gap.”
*It was Leonardo da Vinci’s interest in anatomy and his dissection of human faces that has bestowed upon us that beguiling smile.