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Roles of IT Coordinators in changing
environment of ICT Industry

- Presentation for Knowledge Management Society of Japan -

Category: IT
Published: 2010

Kanzo Kobayashi

up 10z02


Roles of IT Coordinators in changing environment of ICT Industry



IT empowered Management; IT Coordinator; Business Process; IT strategy; multiple qualified ITC: Change Recognition Process; Reform Recognition Process; Sustainable Growth Process;

  • On Dec.1, 2010, Mr. Tomohiro Takanashi, Exec. Vice Chairmen of Knowledge Management Society of Japan (KMSJ) gave me the opportunity to deliver lecture about "Roles of IT Coordinators" at Ono Auditorium in Waseda Univ. in Japan.
  • The theme was "Intellectual Capital & Assent based Mangement International Workshop" with the theme of "Knowledge Leverage; Organization and 'Ba' for Innovation Value" , which was organized by The New Club of Paris, Knowledge Mangement Society of Japan, Waseda University, including prominent oversease reseachers.
  • I explained mainly about the roles of IT Coordinators and their roles and functions aiming to bridge the intention of stakeholders of user compnay and effective use of IT system, emphasizing the broder viewpoint of knowledge contribution.
  • Scene of the first lecture was very impressive: it started from what is 'ba' in Japanese, showing Japanese traditonal 'Noh stage', which is a symbol of ba in Japanese culture where every drama and story should be perfromed on this narrow and plain space. Thereafter modern innovative high-tech space was introduced, showing how both have a commonnality.
  • The presentation of The New Club of Paris was also very challenging: which is the agenda developer for the Knowledge Economy to create awareness on what the knowledge sociey is and will be. (I flashed back The Club of Rome in 1970s, advocating the limit to growth.)
  • KobayashiatWaseda
  • 2010.12.1に高梨智弘氏の紹介で、早稲田大学小野記念講堂での日本KM学会主催のワークショップで、ITコーディネータの役割を講演する機会があった。
  • これは、知的資産経営国際ワークショップで、テーマは「知を活かすー創造とイノベーションのための場と組織」であり、「見えざる資源を活かすためには、展開/触媒となる場と、これを促進するための組織的な仕組みが不可欠」であった。
  • 小生は、主に、ユーザ企業のステイクホルダと効果的なITC活用を橋渡しするITコーディネータの役割を、知的貢献の広い観点を強調しつつ説明した。
  • 冒頭の講演のシーンは印象的だった。日本の能舞台を示して、その狭い空間では、さまざまなドラマと物語が演じられる日本の典型的な「場」として示され、その後で近代的なハイテク空間と対比され、いかに両者に共通性があるかが語られた。
  • またThe New Club of Parisのプレゼンも意欲的なものであった。それは知識社会とはどうあるべきかを提言し知識経済を発展させようとする政策立案組織である。 (思わず1970年代の成長の限界を提唱したローマクラブのことを思い出した。)

>Top 0. Preface:

  • " IT Coordinator" is a METI recommended qualified specialist, who facilitates or supports to reform the client company by reviewing its corporate strategy, its business process and organization, and then consider to use most appropriate IT systems according to the client maturity level.
  • This institution was established in 2001; now about 6,500 IT Coordinators function as front end sales engineers or designers of IT vender companies, or corporate staff in IT user companies, or independent consultant for client companies (particularly mid or SMB), sometimes having double qualifications of SMB Management Consultants or Certified Tax Consultants as well.
  • Skillfulness of SMB in Japan is one of the global strength having unique only one parts or tool manufacturer or special products or services suppliers for major companies; they pursue such management and IT expertise as outsourced specialists.
  • The role or function of such knowledge based professionals is a typical occurrence in matured economy like Japan; which will be good reference for emerging market like most of other Asian countries.

>Top 1. Background of IT Coordinators establishment:

  • How IT Coordinator Qualification were established?... It was a decade ago.
  • In June, 1999: "Industrial Structure Council", an advisory council of METI appealed necessity of advanced specialist to promote IT investment to revitalize competitiveness of SMB in Japan.
  • Feb.. 2001: the first year of 21C.
    (NPO) IT Coordinators Association (ITCA) was organized. METI supports this organization, But the NPO is financially and policy wise independent and autonomous organization.
  • 2010: ITCA had 10th Anniversary since its establishment. In a sense of dog-year counting, ITCA has grown up already 70 year old maturity.

>Top 2. IT Coordinator bridging Corporate Management and IT:

  • This is a symbolic chart expressing the function of IT Coordinators, as "professionals who can realize IT-empowered management."
    • specialist in corporate management and IT, backed by in-depth experience in related business field.
    • average age 47, well experience and matured enough to give proper advices
    • cool, but loyal to the client viewpoint.
    • consistent support, keeping long-running relationship with the client.
  • The function of IT Coordinator:
    • should be called It-empowered Management Coordinator
    • or facilitator, owner consultant, adviser, supporter, reliable staff, etc..

>Top 3. Number of IT Coordinators:

  • This shows growth of IT Coordinators since establishment of the scheme started in Oct. 2001.
  • 3/4 of the total ITC's belong to corporate ITC, mostly in IT Vendors. This shows the function of ITC is actually appreciated and needed for IT Vendors as front-end consultation or upstream system proposals, or as marketing with in-depth proposals.
  • 1/4 is independent ITC's: composed of accountant and SME Management Consultant, etc., who are experts of management with having ability of IT utilization.

>Top 4. ITC Autonomous Group Organization:

  • This map shows how the organization of ITC's are distributed nationwide from Northern Hokkaido to Southern island Okinawa.
  • There are two types of organization: business-oriented organization and study-oriented organization. Of course the latter may evolve to the former. (ITC's are required to continue certain volume of studying to renew the qualification.)
  • Though the ITC's organization are distributed nationwide, but most of them are located in major cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya areas.
  • These organizations function as local representatives of ITC's, which actually participate government-promoted movement or events such as IT-empowered Management Award for SMB since 2008.

>Top 5. Multi-qualified IT Coordinators:

  • This chart shows how many ITC's who have other technical or managerial qualifications as double or triple qualified professionals.
  • This also shows how effective the title of ITC as a horizontal, widely covered qualification from corporate management to IT utilization. Or I’d say it should be a knowledge expert as a shadow promoter for IT-empowered management of their client company.
  • The latest survey published by Nikkei BP (Nov. 10) shows IT Coordinator is ranked as No.1 qualification desirable for sales & marketing of IT vendors and IT system staff of users.

>Top 6. Three processes and five phases for IT-empowered Management:

  • One of the core know-how of ITC is these 3 processes & 5 phases guideline, starting from involvement or advice in established Corporate Strategy of the client.
  • Then, IT strategy is to be established to realize such corporate goals, considering general trend of utilization of the industry which the client belongs, and maturity of the client company.
  • Thereafter, IT Procurement of necessary resources is determined. RFP will be the key document to express proper requirements for IT systems to be implemented.
  • IT Implementation phase is to mostly done by IT vendor. As the client, it is getting more important what organizational formation or what personal skills should be required in order to maximize the newly developed IT system. Review or revise of business process should be concurrently needed.
  • After completion of the IT system, the vendor's role has finished, but the user's role will start now. ITC will monitor and assess how the system is effective to realize the corporate goal, and reports to the stakeholders of the result. PDCA cycle begins to rotate once again.

>Top 7. Three Processes and Five Phases for ITC's activity:

  • The area enclosed by full line represents IT management process to be performed by the user.
  • IT Coordinators will promote and support the above area from the viewpoint of the corporate owner.
  • The area enclosed by dashed line should be promoted by IT division of the user company, led by CIO. Actual development and implementation (painted in dark pink) is usually outsourced to IT Vendors. IT Coordinators may be involved in supporting these phases.
  • Prior to actual consultation in Corporate Reform and IT Investment, IT Coordinators have important mission: to
    persuade the owner or stakeholders to recognize the importance and necessity of IT empowered management,
    particularly in changing environment both in market and IT technology.

>Top 8. Why IT-empowered Management is needed? - Capability/Market Quadrant:

  • Market is globalized. IT Technology is rapidly developing. Customers’ requirements are also changing.
  • Agile management will be the key to corporations to respond to these changes.
  • But pursue of efficiency by IT is not enough to create new products or services and find out new market opportunity.
  • Now human based IT management will be the key factor to challenge new products and services, and new market penetration.
  • There will be definition of maturity level of IT management, which is evaluated by 1) IT environment, including IT infrastructure, 2) IT service utilization, consistent with Corporate Strategy, 3) IT management mindset, including leadership of CIO, 4) IT management governance, including assessment of IT investment as well as internal control and compliance.

>Top 9. Triple Looped Management Cycle:

  • We are enforced to drive abrupt mountain trail in rapidly changing environment. Continued process reforms are always required:
  • In the established rank and file business process, Plan, Do, See is basic and common.
  • In manageable business process, Plan, Do, Check, and Action is emphasized.
  • But in recent changing environment, Plan itself must be revised accordingly. SPDLI, i.e., Strategy, Plan, Do, Learning, Innovation should be needed. More flexibility to adopt the changing environment, which part should be focused and maintained, and which part could be outsourced or abandoned is essential.
  • ITC's are required to drive their client in global competitive market applying these three-layered gearboxes.

>Top 10. Expansion of Corporate Strategic Resources:

  • Traditional corporate resources are three factors composed of human resources, things or goods, and money or fund.
  • Since 1970s, information systems are regarded as the fourth factor of corporate resources.
  • Since 21st century, it has been recognized that knowledge should be the fifth factor, which includes various type of knowledge is included. Knowledge of timing which may affect business activities, wide range of knowledge covering different culture or tribes, or even knowledge understanding business partners.
  • Environment issue is getting indispensable factor for corporate activity. We must take more active role in this environmental issue from the viewpoint of not only to survive as a social organization, but also to pursue as a new business opportunity.

>Top 11. Chi Pyramid: Body of Practical Ability:

  • Our recent PGL emphasizes more practical knowledge:
  • Our former process of intellectual production has been how to increase sharable explicit knowledge from personal implicit knowledge. But it is not sufficient to accumulate knowledge as it is; rather it should to accumulated as practical knowledge through actual experiences.
  • Thus, we added three more layers necessary for practical knowledge; Expert knowledge derived from activities, Behavioral wisdom derived from awakening through successful or even unsuccessful experience. And finally Conscious Mind is important to give more strong and continued impacts to the client.

>Top 12. IT Coordinators' standpoint:

  • Other professionals tend to take forecasting based on the past analysis , while ITC's are featured to take backcasting, which is assumed or envisioned by To-Be models, and to take necessary actions to attain the goal.
  • In order that ITC's are required to show possible scenario, alternatives, hypotheses, considering various uncertain or risk factors, or in cases with full of imagination predicting the future situation.
  • "Backcasting":
    The idea of such backcasting is advocated by Swedish cancer scientist Karl-Henrik Robert, the founder of 'Natural Step.'

>Top 13. The ideal for IT Coordinators:

  • Miyamoto Musashi lived in 16-17C, who is a distinctive swordsman.
  • He mastered to use dual swords using both hands. He became a symbol of dual capabilities, which is the ideal for IT Coordinators, who are required to be professional both in corporate management and IT.
  • Once ITCA adopted a poster campaign using his story.
  • A proverb says, " Between two stools you fail to the ground." But IT Coordinators are the people who stood between two stools, without failing to the ground but to give balanced advice to the client company.
  • Knowledge or Chi is becoming essential power in Information Society both in society and in market, or even in individuals.
  • This presentation at the workshop at Waseda Univ. by Knowledge Management Society of Japan would be unforgettable one.
  • 知識あるいは知は情報社会では、社会や市場、あるいは個人においても本質的なパワーとなる。
  • 早大での日本KM学会ワークショップでのプレゼンは忘れられないものとなりそう。

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