The social worlds of the CIO and CMO collide
Excerpted from my Social Business By Design column on InformationWeek
IT leaders often tell me they feel "surrounded" by social today. Typically, the sales team is pushing for Salesforce, the organization usually already has SharePoint (with those pushing for its social features), other internal camps are often pushing for IBM Connections, Jive, and other popular platforms. Open source social tools are popular as well, though largely departmental. And these are just the internal solutions, not the inevitable parade of vertical and/or external solutions aimed at marketing, analytics, CRM, crowdsourced production development, and more. There usually is plenty of experimentation with all of these that is further driving the growing trend towards departmental-led deployment. It is into this chaotic environment that IT is often brought in at the 11th hour to sort out the proliferation of social, to deal with its many downstream implications. But not to lead it.
CIOs themselves are perhaps to most blame for lack of leadership here. As I point out frequently these days, last year's Deloitte CIO survey found that 60% of top IT leaders believe that they should be driving growth and productivity for the business. Yet only 1 in 10 are willing to make the changes necessary to adapt to today's rapidly evolving business landscape. This is a surprising gap between desire and action that is ultimately untenable in today's lightspeed world of technology development. This inaction is pushing adoption of powerful and transformative new technology directly into the hands of other areas of our organizations.
A powerful new piece by Paul Gillin observes that IT doesn't even make an appearance when organizations are asked about who has primary responsibility for social business. Instead, marketing is listed first. This is something I've seen as a strong trend in the last year, something I've referred to as the rise of the CIO of marketing.
Engagement functions and technologies begin to blur
The lesson: Increasingly mature people-oriented networked technologies that connect us together across all boundaries and constituencies have become so pervasive and embedded and yes, social, that the groups in our organizations most responsible for external engagement and communication (marketing, corporate communications, customer care) are beginning to take the technology lead. In other words, the CMO's purview is overlapping with the CIO, particularly with social business. At the same time, the rest of the organization isn't waiting either.
The near future therefore appears quite different for IT than it does today for many organizations. Adoption of new business capabilities will mostly be a bring-your-own-technology (BYOT) discussion, meaning that shadow IT will probably be the primary way tech is adopted within the next three years or so. (See Gartner's data and my recent analysis of this.) The data show that departments, projects, and individual users will soon be the primary method of new technology adoption. If this continues, IT will largely be charge of security, infrastructure, and governance and not leading the business towards its digital future.
The lost opportunity for IT--because of its traditional deep experience in providing, supporting, and managing technology enablement company-wide--is ultimately considerable and could lead to permanent decline. For some IT organizations, the outcome will be dire: CFOs are already beginning to push for infrastructure to be moved out to the cloud, app stores are disintermediating the acquisition of IT solutions, and externally delivered mobile apps and SaaS will soon become the primary form of business software. CIOs that are really chief infrastructure officers will become more and more marginalized as the business helps itself to a rich new future. CIOs that successfully become what many think they were always meant to be, chief innovation officers, will be better positioned to lead their organizations into a successful technology-driven future.
How IT Can Reclaim Social Relevance | InformationWeek
Social Business Strategy: The CIO Shortlist | Dachis Group Collaboratory
Organizing for social business: The issues | Dachis Group Collaboratory
The Social Business Index | Dachis Group
Social Business By Design | Amazon Hardcover (John Wiley & Sons, 2012)