Social Business Readiness: 5 Questions for IT Executives


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Within the IT department at some firms, the social media pendulum swings to extremes. Companies are either busy banning all forms of social media usage or getting drunk at the social media party and allowing any and all forms of social media tools and behaviors to proliferate within their organizations.

What’s often missing is a social business strategy which offers a standardized environment for social implementation in support of business goals. A clearly defined strategy helps prevent erratic social policies as it roots technology decisions in the business realm. In fact, social media offers a strong opportunity for IT executives to take a leadership role in the strategy of social business as they potentially have the knowledge base to mediate between business goals and technical outcomes. Looking even at recent history, the impact of the social business revolution is similar to that which the web had on IT leaders in the mid 1990’s. Both the web and social push (or invite depending on the CIO!) IT into business leadership roles.

In order to play a leading role in social business, the IT function can create a purpose-driven social tool kit in support of the business goals of the organization. Factors to consider include:

  1. Does IT management have a seat at the table when it comes to the formation of a social strategy?
  2. Has IT been given the charter to perform due diligence on social tools and create a standardized list of tools approved for use within the organization?
  3. Does the list of approved social tools include an appropriate range of capabilities? Mobile social networks? Video and voice over IP? Location services? Secure communications?
  4. Do the tools support the needs of the the business? How many tools do you have? Do you know the purpose of the tools? Are they current? Has the social tools list been reviewed or revised in the past 6 months?
  5. Is your technical support staff up-to-speed and capable of supporting your social tool users?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Vanessa DiMauro
Vanessa DiMauro is CEO of Leader Networks, a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building. DiMauro is a popular speaker, researcher and author. She has founded numerous online communities, and has developed award winning social business strategies for some of the most influential organizations in the world. Her work is frequently covered by leading publications such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes.


  1. Vanessa: these are great questions. As CIO’s evolve into more strategic roles within their companies, they will need to ask and answer the question, “what value does social media bring to our organization?” Of course, social media touches every operating entity within a company.

    More fundamentally, IT executives will need to grapple with the often non-IT-like realm of ethics. Any deployment of social media will require establishing codes of conduct for how employees, partners, and others will use the social media tools that IT might support. This is easier said than done for IT people who are steeped in process thinking and rules constraints. Social media is a different animal. It’s preferable to establish–and enforce–boundaries of what’s not acceptable content and communication versus being picky about what is. Whether IT is the right place for defining those policies can be debated. But IT executives must be prepared to participate in the discussion.


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