Dear, CIO: Please Come Out of Your Foxhole

Michael Maoz of Gartner recently wrote that CIOs can only shake their heads when marketing, sales and services leaders are able to obtain funding for social media projects without a business case, instead of being held accountable for the same level of quantitative rigor as other IT-enabled investments. While it is true that most social media investments still travel with no business case, anyone who wants to change that fact needs to understand a bit of history:
One challenge is that most communications professionals and social media consultants don’t have much experience in organizational change. They’ve never led cross-functional change programs. They’ve never built a business case that had to stand up to the CFO’s rigor. So they just don’t know how to do those things.

And, in the corporate communications arena, they never had to measure business impact from their efforts. Clippings were all they ever counted.

But that is all changing as marketing, sales and customer service leaders begin to ask for real dollars for social media.

However, the one critical factor that is changing the slowest is that CIOs are simply not getting in the game. CIOs and their teams are simply not at the table when cross-functional social media efforts are launched. And, ultimately, the CIO has to change that. CIOs need to start reaching out to their VPs of Communications and Marketing, and start figuring out how enterprise IT will enable the business goals that social media supports.

The bottom line is that CIO can not sit back and wait for other functional leaders to bring them a business case or a well-defined social application architecture. CIOs need to get out of their foxholes, and go be the smartest person in the room about how the organization should use technology to solve challenges in marketing, communications, sales and service.

And if you want some help developing your technology strategy for social in your organization, I’d be happy to help. Send me a note any time.

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