CIOs and CxOs roles in implementing social media technologies

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Chief x Officers (CxOs) must take into account that implementation of social media technologies are not going to have high adoption rates initially and should then adjust their expectations accordingly (Mathaisel, 2011). CIOs are now in the position to help their companies adopt social media. According to Mathaisel (2011), CIOs should be in the middle ground when it comes to their willingness to experiment, use of social science, and personal risk tolerance. CIOs should take advantage to practice open leadership given the nature of social media technology projects (Li, 2010; Zhu, 2013).  Additionally, the concept of experimentation is key. CIOs should be willing to conduct deep analysis on parts of the social media experiments that succeeded and letting go of others that don’t succeed (Mathaisel, 2011).  CIOs must finally take into account that the nature of the social media technology project should depend on the goals and objectives of business (Zhu, 2013).

These business goals and objectives should be aligned with the business strategy (Wollan, Smith, & Zhou, 2010). Even though social media technology tools are the same, their focused use on the company whether internally and externally should change how leadership style practices are used (Zhu, 2013).  Internal adoption of social media technologies could involve retaining talent and knowledge, content, and data management tasks (Li, 2010; Mathaisel, 2011; Wollan et al., 2010; Zhu, 2013). This type of adoption requires enhancing corporate culture to become more collaborative, and the CIO should be the active user not necessarily a power user (Zhu, 2013). External adoption of social media technology could involve recruiting talent, recruiting more customers, developing a relationship with customers, and creating a corporate social brand (Berkman, 2013; Li, 2010; Mathaisel, 2011; Wollan et al., 2010; Zhu, 2013). This could involve collaborative efforts with other CxOs and other departments other than just IT. Thus the CIO does not need to be an active user nor a power user (Berkman, 2013; Zhu, 2013).  Thus, the CIO should not have to become a social media power user to influence either internal and external change but should be leveraging other power user’s strengths to connect ideas together and move the company forward with social media (Zhu, 2013).

According to Berkman (2013), the role of the CIO is starting to blur in the past few decades with other CxOs. This means that Information Technology (IT) departments are no longer a silo as they were in the past. Other CxOs and departments are starting to have their IT specialist outside of the IT department (Berkman, 2013). Therefore, for a successful implementation of social media technologies in business should involve the CIO and other CxOs to find collaborative wins, not just IT but for other departments in the company. Though the question lies on should the CIO and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), or any other CxO, be equal partners in these types of projects? The answer to that is, it depends on.  It depends on who has more of the budget and human capital resources to dedicate to these projects (Berkman, 2013; Zhu, 2013). Although the ideation of the project’s goals and objectives, should be equal across the CxOs, not all CxOs should have equal influence in the implementation due to their resource allocation.  If the CMO has all the funding and human capital, it should be their initiatives that are given higher priority, whereas the CIO and the IT department are there to help and vice versa.

References

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