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Why you need a social CIO

“With the experience our employees have as consumers, I believe it is important for me as CIO to understand the experiences they are enjoying and how to bring those same experiences into the workplace in a ‘fit for business’ way.” — Jeanette Horan, Chief Information Officer of IBM

LinkedIn is now a publicly traded company, and the professional social network is accessed by 150 million people every month. Facebook, which is going public very soon, is accessed by a mind-blowing 901 million people every month. Other social networks, like Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram, are likewise seeing record engagement rates as consumers continue to crave a social experience with everything they do online.
These statistics are startling because they illustrate the “consumerization of IT,” or an increasing tendency for new technologies to first be adopted by mainstream consumers before businesses. If organizations today want to keep up, they must look to the behaviors of their very employees for insight into which technologies can help them build a better business.
Forbes recently published an article discussing the new era of the social business, which must be led by a “Social CIO” that understands the importance of social media and social networking to their organization. Their perspective falls much in line with our own:

For CIOs, managing is about understanding an organization’s people, information and technologies. Their task is to make people capable of exceptional performance, to enable teams to collaborate and to prepare an organization to be more effective. This is what the true role of the CIO is all about, and it is the reason that she is critical to building a social business.
To understand that LinkedIn is important for networking and identifying subject matter experts; to see that Twitter can be used to communicate ideas to a broad audience; to grasp that Facebook is a valuable tool for connecting friends and family through shared interests; to appreciate that Google+ represents a new break-through in long form communication and collaboration are all important to understand when designing the information flow and technologies for the social enterprise.

It’s a challenge, but every organization will need to rethink themselves as a social business. From hiring to marketing to sales, everyone at your organization is a brand ambassador, and it’s up to the CIO to put the infrastructure in place to make that happen.
Looking for a good role model? Here’s a graphic highlighting the top 25 Social CIOs in the Fortune 250, as identified by

Curious to learn more about the new role of the Social CIO? Check out some of these posts:

Social CIOs must prepare for change

“Change is good.” It’s a slogan we’ve seen everywhere. We all know why change is good, but let me explain how important change is to IT solution delivery.

Traditional IT organizations may today be slowing down the very businesses they seek to aid. For example, consider the traditional Waterfall development methodology and the Agile/SCRUM methodologies. The difference boils down to ‘predictability’ vs. ‘adaptability’. IT organizations supporting legacy environments are likely to be very mature with the Waterfall approach, and those organizations working in a more dynamic business oriented environment will likely utilize Agile/SCRUM.
I would argue that there is a new era upon us IT professionals. When you factor in the need for IT organizations to support legacy (Waterfall) and maintain the Web solutions deployed to date (Agile/SCRUM), the new era we need to adapt to is a combination of the two approaches for the following realities:

Consumerization of IT

As the everyday technologies we’re used to utilizing in our respective personal lives become further ingrained in professional environments, IT organizations need to prepare for this wave from a solution delivery and support perspective. What is important to understand with consumerization of IT is that this is the expectation of the Millennial generation (see my blog on GENeX).

Web 2.0/3.0

It’s a fact: tons of social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and foursquare are starting to be used by Fortune 500. Though the business benefits and metrics for utilizing social media are in the nascent stages, it’s clear that organizations need to deploy value propositions for their target audience through the use of social media. That need creates a challenge for traditional IT organizations in that the development approaches for these few examples are not Waterfall, are not Agile/SCRUM but more Extreme Agile (not XP) in that changes are applied on a daily, weekly and on rare occasion monthly basis. As these platforms are integrated with the legacy environments of the enterprise, it becomes very difficult for traditional IT to keep up with the integration changes.
I have had the privilege of attending numerous conferences and closed panels where representatives from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google were present in meeting enterprise representatives from Fortune 500 organizations. The challenge is clear and what is also clear is that all parties want to collaborate on a solution. Traditional IT will be very reliant on partnerships with external parties and the time is now for the (traditional) enterprise organizations to form partnerships with these entities.
This all boils down to ‘change’ for all parties involved. Traditional organizations will need to prepare their culture, processes, and people from a readiness perspective. It is a tough balance given the ever changing environments and priorities of the enterprise. It will also be a challenge for the external parties who have pressures to drive awareness, presence, revenue, and eyes, and to work in a ‘constrained’ environment will be suffocating but the balance needs to be a focus.
Good luck to all as I am preparing for change as well!