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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 harmon.ie:

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

Social media freedom more important than salary to 1 in 3 young employees [INFOGRAPHIC]

We know an increasing number of adults value social media, but is there any way to quantify that value? Apparently so: it’s almost as good as cash. 
One in three college students and young employees under the age of 30 say social media freedom, along with device flexibility and work mobility, is a more important factor to them than salary when accepting a job offer.
To be more specific, 40% of college students and 45% of young employees would actually accept a lower salary in exchange for social media access from work, plus device choice and mobility.
These incredible statistics, which can be found in a recent Cisco report on the “new workplace currency,” show just how much Facebook, smartphones, and other emerging technology have become an essential part of the young adult’s daily activities.
“These findings among college students and young employees indicate the freedom to access social media and use devices is increasingly important to the next generation of the world’s workforce – in some cases, more important than salary,” said Sheila Jordan, VP Communication and Collaboration IT, Cisco.
“The results in the Cisco Connected World Technology Report demonstrate how companies need to acknowledge this fact in greater numbers, and respond accordingly – for many industries, the status quo of previous work environments is becoming a thing of the past.”
Beyond the already long list explaining why companies should go social—brand maintenance, marketing, sales prospecting, customer service, PR, and crisis management—it appears that employee satisfaction is just another reason for companies to adopt and execute a clear social media policy and plan.
You can read the report online at the link above, and we’ve embedded an infographic with key takeaways below.