We will have to unlearn much of what we understand about I.T. Strategic Planning, the landscape is a never ending body of movement, change and definition, static rules are no longer useful. Much of what we know is in the control model, we build closed systems to protect data and deflect those who wish see it. In the future much of this data will not be behind walls, much of it will be readily available for consumption. Data that is not for consumption by the world will still need to be kept safe, but for the most part, it will be available.
Depending on how your organization is structured, bricks & mortar, I.T. Teams already in place, you will still have to adopt to the new Open & Free Business Model and wireless connectivity. Content normally consumned will conitinue, some content that was not available will find it’s way out into the open.
If you ask CIO’s today what the landscape will look like in the 5 – 10 years they probably can’t tell you. Why? If the exponential growth of technology is to continue we will have to learn or find a way to think exponentially, not continue in our linear fashion. Information Technology is going 2,4,8,16 and 30 steps later you are at a billion. The growth rate is impossible to keep up, let alone predict what we will or won’t be able to do in the next 10,20,30, to 50 years. Many of us might not be here to witness the true Matrix like living, but Virtual Reality will seem more real than the reality you live today. How do we plan for Virtual Reality?
I.T. Strategic Planning in the future will have to embrace more open business models and develop for everything mobile, infact, you should be doing that today! Simple things like the need for tech support will be gone, you won’t need to budget for personal, you will only need to budget for nanotechnology that will seemlessly fix problems, because we will all be connected. Remote access won’t exsist as we know it, it will just happen, and authentication won’t be necassary because clearance will be built in. The current framework won’t work for your organization 5 years from now. CIO’s will have to view everything with bionic contact lenses, where everything technology is about being mobile, embedded into eye care, and handheld devices. In the far future we will all become wireless devices and be seemlessly connected to the data we need.
The I.T. Strategic Planning steps I have made available here on my Blog, work for todays business models, but in the next 3 – 5 years they will fail because the plans won’t scale. There are 1.7 Billion on the Internet today, over the next 5 years that number will grow to 5 Billion, has your current I.T. Strategic Plan factored in this large growth already? What does that kind of growth mean to your organization, and how does it impact your I.T. Strategic Planning?
You may understand what your organization needs today, but are you looking out far enough, do you have enough information to show executives what is coming, I’m not convinced most CIO’s are looking. The future of I.T. Strategic Planning will no longer start will the 1st building block, we are way past that now, we will be building ontop of what we have already.
Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know, we can’t see the details of what’s coming but we know something far bigger is coming, and it’s not a small home network. I spend a great deal of time looking at the future and I work backwards to present day, that’s where helping you figure things out gets interesting. Creative ideas on how to adapt new technologies, how to use them and how they will improve revenues is where you should invest your time.
I.T. Strategic Planning is morphing, changing shape, are you fighting it or going with it? I would love to hear your thoughts on the future of I.T. Strategic Planning.
I have been thinking about this question for some time, because there appears to be a gap between IT Departments / Leaders and the rest of the organization. IT departments tend to think in icolation when it comes to the I.T. Plan. I’m generalizing but, this is normal because IT departments believe that the rest of the organization couldn’t possibly understand the complexities of technology let alone know how to implement it. That’s no longer the truth today, everyone has stepped up and learned more and do infact understand far better what technology means and what it can do. That’s not what I want to share with you right now, lets talk about who the I.T. Plan is for.
If the CIO or the person charged with the technology needs of the organization builds an I.T. Plan without consulting all departments and subject matter experts first, should be relieved of duty. The secret to a successful I.T. Strategic Plan is to ensure you have talked with all areas of the organization. It’s a MUST! If you don’t, you have no way of knowing what they struggle with, what they would like to be able to do, and what things they would like you to fix. The subject matter experts in the organization are your greatest allies, they can help you execute incredible customer service. The organization will know you care about each person, that makes buy in much easier when change takes place in systems they use.
Your responsibility is to deliver the right solutions, the right technology and above the best customer service to your organization. It has nothing to do with technology, it’s about people and always will be. The I.T. Strategic Plan is a road map for the IT Staff, it lays out the years work, and how you will serve the organization on a daily basis.
So, who is the I.T. Strategic Plan for? Who do you think and why?
Technology is growing at an exponential rate; we truly have no way of keeping up via traditional means when it comes to tracking. Organizations struggle to stay focused, struggle to maintain, and struggle to provide systems and services that meet their business objectives. The shift in how business gets done is making it more and more difficult to maintain profit margins and business lifestyles that most are accustom to.
Today’s I.T. Strategic Planning is shedding its skin and taking on a new look and meaning. Ramping up I.T. staff is no longer the norm; reducing I.T. Teams and virtualization is; it allows organizations to be more financially responsible. CIO’s have a tougher time justifying their existence, the role is becoming more and more extinct, and is easily handled without the large investment in overhead. As much as it pains me to say that, I have to accept the new landscape of how Information Technology is implemented and managed. There’s still a need for CIO’s in large organizations but new companies are building streamlined teams, technology allows for startups to have fewer management roles. This new model allows for higher profits and less management of people.
Customer service is making a huge shift in what it means, Customer Service or Support is NOT fixing or adding a new feature, it is about Communication and Solving problems. This gap is hurting far too many businesses, they need to pay attention and listen to what their customers are saying about them, what they want from them.
Small businesses are literally taking a fetal position when it comes to understanding the change taking place, that the Internet is empowering the individual rather than the large organization. The power of the person has been lifted to a level no one saw coming, all because of the Internet. The Internet is the game changer; the Internet was and is clearly misunderstood by the smaller Mom & Pop businesses. The Internet solved the problem of digital distribution, this is an Access Based Economy where we click to get. The transition for small business can be easy to most difficult, undertsanding technology or how technology will help them is the key.
If there ever was a need in your local marketplace it’s helping those small business understand that they won’t be able to continue as they have and enjoy the life they hoped to build when they opened the doors. More importantly, those business owners need to learn about humility, be willing to say they don’t understand and do indeed need help with the Internet. Most small business owners had an Entrepreneurial Seizure, they thought because they knew how to do the work they knew how to run a business. I recommend reading Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It (Amazon Affiliate Link) to get a clear understanding of what I’m referring to.
Today a couple of things scream for attention in my humble opinion:
1. Listening – Listen to what is being said about your brand and or business.
2. Filtering Content is more important than creating it.
Listening & Filtering Content are two key factors to your Social Media success, small & big businesses at large still haven’t grasped these two concepts with any kind of clarity.
We are in an Extreme Reputation Economy, popularity is becoming a Social Capital, and it will be as valuable as real money in the coming months if it hasn’t happened already. How you present yourself, your product, and your business will generate a reputation, take the time to craft your reputation.
What do you think?
I felt it best to answer Anjuan’s statement of, ” CIO’s Should Own The Corporate Social Media Policy? ” here rather than on FaceBook, I’ve added a few other comments to. Anjuan touches on so many nerve endings in his article that I couldn’t bring myself to keep it short. : )
On the surface it would appear the CIO is a great candidate to be the owner of a Social Media Policy, but only on the surface. A few of the questions to be asking before assigning this responsibility are, who is responsible for crafting the consistent message of the organization? How is that message integrated into all communications, and who is responsible for executing it? Who is responsible for the metrics and tracking them? Who is responsible for the role of listening to who is saying what about an organization? I suspect not the CIO.
The CIO does own the Acceptable use or Internet Policy, so a Social Media Policy really isn’t necassary. This policy may be touched upon in a Non-Disclosure Agreement and or Code of Conduct document all staff must sign when hired. But not likely. Begging the question, isn’t that an HR responsibility?
Anyway, In the example of a Virus entering the organizations network via Facebook or any other Internet source is not a Social Media Policy issue. It’s not even an Internet Policy or Acceptable use policy issue, that would be assigning responsibility to the wrong place. It is however a security issue which is handled by the I.T. Manager’s Security & Network Administrator’s. It is already assumed that these virus attacks are going to happen and are common place anyway, the CIO only wants to know that the I.T. Manager’s Security & Network personal are looking after this problem before it happens. (That’s an assumption of course)
The CIO should however, recommend to Upper Executives a Social Media Team be formed and that they are in compliance with the Internet & Acceptable Use Policy. This team resides within the Marketing / PR Departments, not I.T. The Policy Monitoring should be entrusted to all Executives / Managers / Department Heads. To be completely honest, as a former CIO I wouldn’t want that job for all the tea in China; I am more interested in more high level issues, like where technology is going, how and what do we use it for, how does technology help us meet company goals, not worrying about violator’s & monitoring chatter.
The Tools: Again, as long as all departments and or staff follows the Internet & Acceptable Use Policy, I don’t care which tools they use. The department head’s might care, but I don’t. The role of the CIO is not to police or babysit, it is to ensure that the IT department is doing what the organization needs purely from a technical perspective. HR can monitor the Internet Policy as it’s probably packaged with the NDA and Code of Conduct anyway. I.T. will have monitoring software that can spit out reports for HR if needed, HR can then deal with the violating staff person and inform the head of I.T., NOT the CIO, unless a crime has been committed.
When it’s all said and done, the CIO is responsible for the technology needs of the organization and to see that technology align’s with the organizations business processes (needs). He is also tasked with educating executives and the organization as a whole on new technologies that may be of value or are being implemented. They may make a direct improvement to the bottom line or automate an existing process. Assuming the CIO get’s involved in the details or the tasks his Manger’s should be handling would be poor use of the CIO’s time.
The Internet Policy & Acceptable Use Policy will already have covered the Social Media aspect of the Internet, Social Media is not new, Instant Messaging and Blogging forced organizations to address these types environments years ago. What you say on the Internet could be a violation of the company Code of Conduct, NDA, Internet & Acceptable Use Policy.
I hope this helps, and I hope it makes you ask more questions, I love a good debate now and then, some of us will agree and many
will disagree but that’s OK. Thanks Anjuan for getting it started. Anjuan, you are on the right track, but remember, Social Media
is about giving up control and embracing ambiguity and sharing. Social Media is also the new CRM (Customer Relations Management). A seperate Policy for Social Media will be confusing and overlap the above mentioned Policy’s.
So, should CIO’s own the corporate Social Media Policy? My answer is….No.