10 Reasons your CIO should NOT block Social Networking

While I agree consumer social media at work can be a conflict of interest for a business, but understanding the networking and valid business reasons of building the culture leveraging the new capabilities and transforming the business to better compete and stay on top of what the customer cares about… Do you want to block that too?  I do NOT agree that blind firewall rules to block both blogs and micro blogging should simply be created to put up an invisible wall.  Business departments across most companies will have valid BUSINESS reasons to use social media outlets and have legitimate reasons to participate in the networking or to data mine.  In response to Christian Buckley’s Top 10 Reasons Your CIO Blocks Social Media I put together 10 Reasons your CIO should NOT block Social Networking sites.  Should corporations be leary?  Of course they should, but at the same time, they should understand both the upside and the downside, and not only that, understand what might happen even more uncontrolled if they block it anyway.  The CIO is an important figure head, and the business is looking for serious guidance on technology.  Is your CIO a social media evangelist? Nigel Fenwick of Forrester thinks he should be.  So do I.

Social Networking is coming to your enterprise, is your business ready for it? 

Here’s 10 reasons your CIO should not block Social Networking.

1. Innovation and Idea Incubation – With the Rapid pace of today’s environment the future of your company may depend on it. It’s where both industry and new ideas are being born.

2. Real customer interaction happens – whether or not you are there, your customers are there and they are either praising or bashing your product and looking to engage.  Is someone there set to monitor it… at a minimum?

3. Social Networking – Think of the networking.  Getting like people together.  Your engineers and specialists need to be connecting with their industry and sharing ideas.

4. If you think you can block it with a proxy or firewall rule it will happen anyway – This is the 21st century and people have mobile devices and will likely be on it at home, which you can’t block anyway.  How much better would it be if you could use the positive energy and at least coach the people on how to use it properly including time management.

5. Training and Expertise – Business is transforming at light speed.  By leveraging what is happening your business can be taught to be more agile.  You’d be surprised how much the ideas of the consumer social web translate into the enterprise social web.

6. It’s not going away – while it will most likely be transformed, social networking is advantageous for those that take advantage of it.  As a platform for a CIO, it becomes a great way to become more approachable and scalable even more human.  Your ability to connect and network with your employees can be appreciated as you share your thoughts on a blog and make an accessible profile.

7. Data Mining – Stop looking at Twitter as noise and people just chatting about what they ate for lunch, and do some searching, some topic trending, and build some charts.  Look at Topsy search on your favorite terms and be blown away.

8. Community – When you start to look at what you could be building by simply catering to the needs of your product community.  There’s a lot of reasons you want a community.  Not just the obvious feedback, and research, but less understood changes in the heartbeat of your market.  Awareness of trends, market awareness, and news.

9. A major shift has happened… The Web has transformed – Do your IT, Marketing, and HR departments and product business units get it?  Do they understand how they can take advantage of it?  There’s a competitive edge, is it understood?

10. Your Departments have reasons that will not be well understood by IT – HR has recruiting needs, Marketing has research, R&D has research, PR has some tracking they need to do.  If it’s all blocked, they will find other ways of doing it, or live in ignorance, or pay someone else to gather and trust someone else’s data.  Oh, and as well, these are the obvious uses.  There are likely way more reasons that each department could find that either research or engaging their customers or clients ads real business value that would be extremely expensive and slow by other means.

All this social networking… With SharePoint 2010, will your company know how to leverage the technology?  The transformation in the consumer world will provide a shot in the arm to boost enterprise social platforms.  Enterprise corporate *Governance* and company culture are going to be KEY to that success.  While simply blocking it won’t solve the problem and in fact may exacerbate the problem, forcing employees to reach out in more untraceable manner.  Policies, practices are really the only things ultimately that you can do.  Blocking it won’t solve your concerns, it will make your employees feel like you are out of touch, and old fashioned… and despite whether you get it or not, they’ll think you don’t. As they update their status on their mobile phone… my CIO is out of touch!

There are more articles in this ongoing debate:

Facebook, Twitter becoming business tools, but CIOs remain wary

The CIO and Social Media: Social Police?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: