Social Media as the CIO’s Trojan Horsepost by Chris Curran on September 10, 2009
By Chris Curran and Rajesh Balaraman
Many senior IT leaders in the US believe that they are beyond the first level of business engagement. They have established IT’s value in general and have regular ways to interact with other parts of the organization, both to establish strategic plans and for specific project design and requirements. Unfortunately, other parts of the world are not this far along.
We recently spent some time with over 100 of the top CIOs in India at the 10th Annual CTO Forum. While a wide spectrum of topics we discussed, social media was one that created a lot of discussion, but in which there is skepticism. However, even in India, where IT still has a way to go in becoming a true cog in the business engine, there
are some great examples of how social media is adding real rupees to the bottom line. During a panel discussion, Atul Luthra, who leads IT for the PVR theater chain, explained how they developed custom Facebook apps to link friends, movie schedules, ticket purchases and status/Wall updates. On an enterprise level, Sumit Chowdhury, Reliance Communications CIO, described his organization’s extensive corporate use of blogs and other social media channels internally and Saraswati Sankar, the DGM – IT from Bank of India, described a simple but powerful use of shared support bulletin boards used during her core banking platform roll-out.
There is a real need to find something to get the India business leaders excited about the strategic prospects of IT (it’s clear that they get the operational value of it). We’re not saying it’s a silver bullet, but maybe there is something in the social media space that could be used to take the business discussion up a few notches – a Trojan Horse of sorts. Here are some ideas for positioning the social media discussion not as a LinkedIn or blogging discussion, but one based on problem solving.
|Business Function||Questions||Social Media Potential|
How can we increase the pool of job candidates?
Use LinkedIn as an active recruiting channel. Explore Twitter-based recruiting sources.
How can we offer time-sensitive promotions, discounts and deals?
Offer special discounts and promotions on a Twitter stream. Consider Facebook applications for more sophistication.
How can we get more timely product feedback?
Third-party customer feedback platforms like GetSatisfaction provide quick, social feedback.
Business leaders are not the only ones making the business-technology discussion difficult. In our discussions with the India CIOs, we also heard these concerns:
- security concerns
- damage to brand equity by individual opinions being expressed and viewed as corporate opinion
- productivity loss due to time spent at work on social media
Certainly, these discussion themes are not India-specific and could be used as conversation starters anywhere. Let us know what you think.