CIOs Struggle to Define Their Role in Social Businesses

Image courtesy of Flickr user ben matthews :::.

As the use of social tools for internal collaboration and knowledge management grows rapidly, there is much discussion in the CIO/CTO community about the role of the technology officer in this evolution.

A recent study in Information Management magazine finds that business executives are one and a half times more likely to have made long-term use of social business technologies than their IT executive counterparts. The higher business use suggests that social tools are often operating unmanaged or outside the purview of IT.

The study highlights the struggle of CIOs to integrate their traditional goals of efficiency, security and ROI with new goals involving  knowledge building, employee collaboration and marketing support. The result, often, is managers doing end runs around IT, bypassing typical evaluation processes.

That is a problem, according to a recent post by Capgemini CTO Andy Mulholland:

“Most organizations are looking at a very dangerous situation where even if they turn a blind eye to edge-based activities by business managers around opportunities that don’t need to be integrated to, or delivered from, core enterprise IT, there are still two obvious big issues that will inevitably end up damaging the enterprise.

The first is a loss of leverage from the overall strength of the enterprise in terms of experience and knowledge. A successful move in one area won’t be recognized and rapidly implemented in other areas to multiply the benefits, or worse unsuccessful ideas will get repeated adding to the cost and time wasted. . . The second issue [is] the need for integration with, and visibility of, processes to understand exactly how the enterprise functions and delivers on its policies. . .it is a battle between centralized traditional management and new younger business managers.”