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:

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