A Chance for CIOs to Lead in Social Business

I’m presenting a session at the CIO Solutions Gallery at the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University tomorrow on the topic of “Measuring Social ROI: The CIO’s Role.” The subject got me thinking about a topic that’s close to my heart, which is the low profile IT executives have assumed in driving social business at their organizations. The absence of IT at the strategy table perplexes me,  since social technologies are arguably the most important force guiding the evolution of relationships between companies and their constituents. IT departments played an important role in the last transformational change, which was the adoption of enterprise resource planning in the late 1990s and early 2000s. So why aren’t they more active in driving the socialization of business?

I created the presentation below largely for my talk tomorrow and wanted to share it. In particular, look at slide 3, which shows the results of a recent Economist Intelligence Unit Survey of 329 Business Leaders. The survey asked which group within the company had primary responsibility for social business. Not surprisingly, marketing topped the list. Surprising is that IT isn’t even on it.

Study after study has documented that companies are doing a poor job of measuring the results of their social media marketing efforts and have made only weak attempts to integrate customer service data and so-called “social CRM” to create a holistic view of their customers. IT leaders are experts at measurement, and they also have cross-functional visibility that makes them the most logical candidates to integrate islands of automation. This is an opportunity for them to pick up the ball.

I suggest in my presentation that there are several initiatives IT could lead that would give them a critical role in social business. They include standardizing and improving measurement criteria and give businesses a more complete view of their markets. Feel free to download the presentation; it’s posted on a Creative Commons Attribution License.

And please let me know what you think.