Social Business Brings New Challenges For The CIO

CIOs and IT managers have been enormously important in all big technology-driven organisational changes over the past 50-60 years. First mainframes, then PCs, and as a direct consequence of the PC revolution, the flattening of organisations.

With a PC on every desk it was possible to do away with middle managers and communicate directly with all employees. Then came the erosion of the boundary between work and leisure, and the concept of BYOD (“bring your own device”), which is part of the megatrend of “Consumerisation of IT”.

The next big paradigm shift is Social Business, where, on the basis of people’s natural drive, they work together and share information. The organisation takes into account how employees, customers and other interested parties prefer to communicate.

I have met CIOs who are unsure about all these changes. Some have no idea how to manage the influx of personal devices and new cloud services. And it is difficult for a CIO to balance the security risks with the employees’ need for constant connection to a variety of new cloud services via their various devices.

The days when a CIO acted as an IT policeman are over. New generations demand transparency, new tools and new ways of working. As a CIO you have to understand what your employees and external partners need in order to create a functional platform that meets these needs. Great value is created when everyone can work together in an environment that allows for the exchange of ideas, values know-how and nurtures commitment – Social Business.

The solution is all about satisfying both the employees and the organisation. Understand the new generations so you can create the technical foundations for commitment, and support the channels that are demanded so that all generations can work together.

A Social Business strategy should open up the way the organisation communicates and cooperates, both internally and externally, in order to create a synergy of ideas and resources that leads to improvements in productivity and increased sales. A recent study from the McKinsey Global Institute (“The Social Economy: Unlocking Value and Productivity Through Social Technologies”, 2012) shows that Social Business can increase the productivity of a salaried employee by 20-25 per cent.

In order to be able to cope with the changing nature of the CIO role, it is important to understand that there are massive gains to be won if employees and customers can work together in the way they prefer. As always, the CIO’s role runs parallel to social development. In order to safeguard your organisation’s efficiency and competitiveness, you must make sure you create the right conditions for the modern-day way of cooperating. Otherwise how can the CIO cope with the demands of coming generations and be ready for the future?

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Tobias Andersson is COO at Projectplace, an online project collaboration tool that has been providing software as a service since 1998. The company’s collaboration tools have helped over 800,000 users on more than 120,000 projects motivate and engage their teams. Tobias has 24 years' experience working in the IT industry with great experience in sales, marketing and business development of high-tech products and solutions as well as an extensive knowledge in recruiting and managing business partners.