Wednesday, July 31, 2013

CIO as Chief Influencer II: How to Lead Enterprise Social Media Initiatives Effectively

Add social collaboration theme to IT management.

Organizations large or small feel enthusiastic about social computing, the CIO is usually the role in orchestrating enterprise’s social strategy, set up the social platform and tools, also govern the activities and monitor the performance. Do CIOs need to immerse themselves in social media to effectively lead their organizations in social media initiatives?

  • A CIO can take advantage of the opportunity to practice leadership influence. It may depend on the nature of the project. The use of social networks internally and externally, while appearing similar from a tools perspective, can differ greatly in their objectives, adoption, management, etc; internal enterprise social media projects look at driving collaboration and awareness between teams; externally facing projects look to drive awareness and engagement with markets and customer groups. Within the internal projects, the CIO role is equal to any of the CxOs, leading engagement and demonstrating the value of such media is to practice leadership influence. Externally facing projects would differ based on many factors including how core technology/systems are, how the firm engages its customers and how directly those elements relevant to the products and services the firm delivers.
  •  The social media strategy is part of IT strategy which is an integral element of overall business strategy. Based on that foundation, the CIO needs to champion the Social Media Strategy and implementation, assist in evaluating technologies (and respective architectural platforms) and help coordinate with other enterprise stakeholders such as Privacy, Compliance, Corporate Communications, Records Retention and General Counsel. A CIO also must ensure understanding of the business need, ROI, and make sure he/she is able to translate the technical needs into the business language A CIO's responsibility is to understand the business's collaboration needs and innovation pursuit today and into the future.A CIO does not have to be an avid “user” of every social solution, but he/she can have his/her own preference to use it wisely, not only consume content but also create the content. Although a CIO may lead such initiatives without themselves being active users, the chances are greater that internal social networks could offer more in the way of helping an executive directly in getting their work done. In addition, if a CIO needs to gain the reputation as a true leadership role, she or he should take advantage of the social platform to ‘voice’ out and make an influence. The CIO needs business leaders to also give up the controls and let things flow a bit.
  • Add social collaboration theme to IT management: If the CIO and IT take initiatives in driving internal social effort, they may also need to be exemplary to use it in IT management as well. Moreover, eat your own cooking is part of a CIO's strategy to give everybody in the organization the user experience. Indeed, enterprise social platform provides enriched communication channels and alternative talent pipelines in transforming IT and business. A CIO should set the environment for experimentation and learning, find and celebrate innovative things that come up, so he/she can gain effectiveness and productivity in leadership influence and management practices. Enterprise social computing should laser focus on business goals and get measured qualitatively and quantitatively, that's the key difference between enterprise social solutions and consumer social media websites, otherwise, it may become distraction and drag down the productivity, and CIO/IT plays the role of the builder and controller, social does as enabler/orchestrator to encourage knowledge sharing, collaboration, innovation. ROIs should be quantifiable, easy to measure.
Although it is not a REQUIREMENT for CIOs to be active to understand the broader value and to lead business social media initiatives, from time management perspective, there’s also no need to be “omnipresent” at social world, forward-looking CIO leaders will use it selectively and wisely, to let employees understand your thought, to have executive peers get to know each other's strength, to connect the dots in the business ecosystem beyond the four wall of your own organization, as at many circumstances, the true business transformation needs to impact the whole value chain and ecological system.


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