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.
This technically could be the last section of your plan, this is where you take a high level look at the plan and existing challenges that may hamper your ability to deliver on any said item. Depending on who and how I.T. decisions are made in your organization could literally dismantle your strategy on many levels. I wrote on this topic back June 2009, it’s called I.T. Decisions – Who Makes Them In Your Organization?
Once you’ve finished this section you can then do an Executive Summary for the purposes of presenting to your Executive Team and or Board of Directors. Here is a short hypothetical example of this section:
A one year planning and budgeting cycle creates significant difficulties for the I.T. Department to execute the early stages of this plan.
- Hardware and software have to be upgraded or replaced regularly, either to take advantage of newer technologies or reduce maintenance fees. However, sometimes an upgrade would make long term sense but cannot be done because it is too large for a one year budget. This has resulted in a series of sub-optimal short term purchasing decisions being made.
- Recent budget cuts have forced a multi-year upgrade schedule to be differed resulting in perpetually out-of-date technology.
- Many projects take longer than one year to complete and require both tools and personnel at the start-up stage, but will not see significant results until the subsequent year.
- A new service is anticipated to be required by a department in a future year but the department lacks sufficient budget or approval to such an expenditure; however, there might be sufficient lead time for IT to prepare the infrastructure; does IT ” risk it ” and build the infrastructure anyway?
That’s just snippet of what you might put in this Planning Observations section, I suggest you pull your top three together to ensure you are covering the critical issues. You’ll want your IT leaders to be in the loop especially if you are seeking additional budget and it gets rejected, they may be able to assist you with other creative ways to turn the rejection around.
After talking to many business owners and I.T. Execs here in my area, I’m convinced most don’t understand or see the change that is taking place and think Social Media is a waste of time, a fad. Most are bottom-line thinkers and there must be a result for ever action taken, an immediate return on investment. They say I don’t have time for that sh*t! It puzzles me how those who think in these terms consider themselves Revolutionary thinkers, Visionaries in their respective fields. It would seem to me that this is the ultimate oxymoron. These individuals understand bricks & mortar better than most but they struggle with the soft side of what’s happening with Social Media and refuse to believe that it has any influence on the bottom-line.
How could it be that these brilliant minds are missing the shift, unwilling to accept that their roles will be obsolete as they know them. The argument is valid, someone must do the work, and, someone must be in charge, well, sort of. The Executive(s) that understand we the people are going to tell him what and how things will go will win, he must listen and listen hard before making a final decision. I’m not saying dismantle your hierarchy right this minute, I’m saying prepare to allow for a flattening of management and an empowerment of your staff unlike anything you’ve planned for in the past. Open yourselves up to bringing strategic I.T. and Social Media consultants (thinkers) in to help guide and wade through this new environment, this new era of Social Media and what it will mean to you and your business. How 50 Billion Dollar Marketing Dollars will go to firms that are smaller and can move faster than the bloated organizations we know today.
There will still be a need for large ERP systems and the like but they too are changing, as we move towards Virtual Reality and Nanotechnology, these environments are being built via the Cloud today rather than in big rooms with SANS and mainframe like servers. In the future we all will be wireless device’s, we will integrate with technology, in some ways we already have, manual processes will disappear in such a way we won’t see it coming. This isn’t fear mongering, this is asking you to look outside of your four walls and take notice of what’s really going on with technology, spend time looking ahead and consult with those who can help you see what you can’t see now.
I.T. Exec’s – The Time Is Now! You may even be too late in some circles, much needs to be done and you need to get started if you haven’t already. Don’t do things in a vacuum or you will stay inside your four walls and try to use old thinking to get you of your Executive Box. I know most of it seems logical but trying to put an ROI to conversation(s) is confusing at best when you try to get there using traditional equations. There are some sharp people who can help you and you must be willing to allow them to lead you through the maze, if you are looking for someone in your area let me know and I’ll get you connected.
I could go on and on but I think you’re getting the picture, get outside the box and ride the wave rather than be whipped out by it!