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

Resources needed for a social business strategy

Social media helps shine a light exposing: hypocritical business policies, functions of a product/service, marketing, and sales; these issues must be solved relatively quickly, and that requires a social business strategy and resources (Wollan, Smith, and Zhou, 2010).  Thus, there are a significant amount of resources that are needed to achieve any new social business strategies.  These resources should be accessible, such as training resources, best practice guidelines, in-house subject matter experts, and direct managers by all employees (Li, 2010). Wollan et al. (2010), stated that a sponsor is needed to be devoted to the social business strategy because they can remove obstacles and provide the resources abovementioned. Having open leadership allows for a business to use all of their resources to help solve problems (Li, 2010). Thus, the sponsor should then gain additional sponsors or social media champion from the following departments: outside sales, customer service, marketing, product development, information technology, human resources, etc. (Wollan et al., 2010). Having all these teams as a champion or co-sponsor as key human resources adds more credibility and objectivity to the social business strategy.  Then, Li (2010) said that ideally a suggestion box for improving current strategies should be placed in plain sight so that everyone’s input for improving the current social business strategy is heard.

One consideration to make about using in-house resources, outsourced resources or a combination of the two is whether or not a social business strategy is vital to the operations or just contextual.  Li (2010), states that open leadership on social media strategies tends to add more work on employees, with little additional financial resources to be thrown their way. Craig (2013), states that some of the upsides of outsourcing are leveraging external expertise whiling building internal expertise, saving time and fiscal capital.  If a company thinks its core to their current business strategy, human capital strategy, and human resource strategy, then it should keep it in-house.  If they just think its core for just customer relations, but not core to the business strategy then it could consider to outsourcing it to a managed services company that is adept at implementing social business strategies.  However, caution should be thrown when outsourcing the social business strategy because any post becomes the voice of the company and the outsourced company won’t do the business’ voice justice (Craig, 2013). At the end of the day using in-house resources, outsourced resources, or a combination of the two is dependent on the social business strategy, current company resources, and finally the social strategist sponsor’s belief that this is either core or contextual to the business.

References

  • Craig, D. (2013). Pros and cons of outsourcing social media. Retrieved from http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/tech-decision-maker/pros-and-cons-of-outsourcing-social-media/
  • Li, C. (2010). Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead, (1st). Vital book file.
  • Wollan, R., Smith, N., & Zhou, C. (2010). The Social Media Management Handbook: Everything You Need To Know To Get Social Media Working In Your Business. John Wiley & Sons P&T. VitalBook file.