Time is Running Out for the CIO to Lead on Social Mediapost by Chris Curran on November 7, 2011
Setting my clocks back this weekend for Daylight Savings Time got me thinking about how some CIOs are at risk of getting left behind on social media. The current situation reminds me of what transpired at the dawn of e-Commerce back in the mid-90s.
CIOs were dragging their feet on e-Commerce rollouts so the sales and product teams took matters into their own hands. They hired outsiders and cut CIOs out of projects. Separate e-Commerce divisions were spawned as a result. The function didn’t return in-house until years later.
In the age of social media, history stands to repeat itself. Except this time it’s CMOs who are growing increasingly impatient at the slow pace of IT rollouts. The good news is that CIOs have an opportunity to catch up as CMOs move out of their experimental phase and into an era of social media governance.
CIOs can Lead in the Second Stage of Social Media
In the rush of social media when it was brand new, many CMOs took to the networks without first setting up comprehensive listening tools or establishing internal collaboration systems to coordinate strategic external outreach among employees. Now, as social media moves from infancy into adolescence, CMOs are looking to put more structure in place. CIOs happen to excel in this area.
This next phase of social media where corporate governance will be more important puts CIOs in a better to position to lead. They can begin by using the social media policy to regroup with marketing and regain some control over related strategy and tactics.
Using the Social Media Policy to Sync with CMOs
Part of the reason why CIOs and CMOs aren’t marching in lockstep on the social media front is confusion of who does what and why. Developing the company’s social media policy is a great place for CIOs and CMOs to come together on the same page and to assign roles and responsibilities.
First of all, communications/marketing writes the policy that dictates what employees can or can’t say over social networks, so they enforce it. In other words, CIOs shouldn’t find themselves playing social media cop.
However, CMOs can’t effectively enforce the social media policy without IT tools to collect and mine the data. (see Jeff Auker’s commentary on social media monitoring and analysis) CIOs can also deploy internal collaboration tools such as Jive, Basecamp, Steamworks or Salesforce so employees, marketing and IT can have dedicated channels to communicate about social media activity and to coordinate outreach campaigns. How employees communicate with marketing and IT about social media should be explained in the policy and its companion operating model.
The clock is ticking and time is running out for CIOs to lead on social media. However, a new focus on corporate governance is providing CIOs an opportunity to catch up. The question is will they take it.
Image shared by Paul Cosgrove.