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CIO Ceiling, Social Success and Exposures

Nov 30, 2012   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Lead Analyst: Cal Braunstein

According to a Gartner Inc. survey, CIOs are not valued as much as other senior executives and most will have hit a glass ceiling. Meanwhile a Spredfast Inc. social engagement index benchmark report finds a brand’s level of social engagement is more influenced by its commitment to social business than its size. In other news, a New York judge forced Twitter Inc. to turn over tweets from one of its users.

Focal Points:

  • Recent Gartner research of more than 200 CEOs globally finds CIOs have a great opportunity to lead innovation in their organization, but they are not valued as strategic advisors by their CEOs, most of whom think they will leave the enterprise. Only five percent of CEOs rated their CIOs as a close strategic advisor while CFOs scored a 60 percent rating and COOs achieved a 40 percent rating. When it comes to innovation, CIOs fared little better – with five percent of CEOs saying IT executives were responsible for managing innovation. Gartner also asked the survey participants where they thought their CIO’s future career would lead. Only 18 percent of respondents said they could see them as a future business leader within the organization, while around 40 percent replied that they would stay in the same industry, but at a different firm.
  • Spredfest gathered data from 154 companies and developed a social engagement index benchmark report that highlights key social media trends across the brand and assesses the success of social media programs against their peers. The vendor categorized companies into three distinct segments with similar levels of internal and external engagement: Activating, Expanding, and Proliferating. Amongst the findings was that a brand’s level of social engagement is more influenced by its commitment to social business than its size. Social media is also no longer one person’s job but averages about 29 people participating in social programs across 11 business groups and 51 social accounts. Publishing is heavier on Twitter but engagement is higher on Facebook, Inc. but what works best for a brand does depend on industry and audience. Another key point was that corporate social programs are multi-channel, requiring employees to participate in multiple roles. Additionally, users expect more high-quality content and segmented groups. One shortfall the company pointed out was that companies use social media as an opportunity for brand awareness and reputation but miss the opportunity to convert the exchange into subsequent actions and business.
  • Under protest Twitter surrendered the tweets of an Occupy Wall Street protester, Malcolm Harris, to a Manhattan judge rather than face contempt of court. The case became a media sensation after Twitter notified Harris about prosecutors’ demands for his account. Mr. Harris challenged the demand but the judge ruled that he had no standing because the tweets did not belong to him. While the tweets are public statements, Mr. Harris had deleted them. Twitter asserts that users own their tweets and that the ruling is in error. Twitter claims there are two open questions with the ruling: are tweets public documents and who owns them. Twitter is appealing.

RFG POV: For the most part CIOs and senior IT executives have yet to bridge the gap from technologist to strategist and business advisor. One implication here is that IT executives still are unable to understand the business so that IT efforts are aligned with the business and corporate needs. To quote an ex-CIO at Kellogg’s when asked what his role is said, “I sell cereal.” Most IT executives do not think that way but need to. Until they do, they will not become strategic advisors, gain a seat at the table or have an opportunity to move up and beyond IT.  The Spredfest report shows that using social media has matured and requires attention like any other corporate function. Moreover, to get it to have a decent payback companies have to dedicate resources to keeping the content current and of high quality and to getting users to interact with the company. Thus, social media is no longer just an add-on but must be integrated with business plans and processes. IT executives should play a role in getting users to understand how to utilize social media tools and collaboration so that the enterprise optimizes its returns. The Twitter tale is enlightening in that information posted publicly may not be recalled (if the ruling holds) and can be used in court. RFG has personal experience with that. Years ago, in a dispute with WorldCom, RFG claimed the rates published on its Web site were valid at the time published. The telecom vendor claimed its new posting were applicable and had removed the older rates. When RFG was able to produce the original rate postings, WorldCom backed down. IT executives are finding a number of vendors are writing contracts with terms not written in the contract but posted online. This is an advantage to the vendors and a moving target for users. IT executives should negotiate contracts that have terms and conditions locked in and not changeable at the whim of the vendor. Additionally, enterprises should train staff on how to be careful about is posted in external social media. It can cost people their jobs as well as damage the company’s financials and reputation.