What Can Save the CIO From Becoming Obsolete?

Over the past few months, a conversation on the emerging role of the CIO has developed in a series of posts by writer Jim Stikeleather on the HBR Blog Network. In his most recent post, he provides some sensible insight: The CIO has to look at the organization from a more strategic perspective, rather than supportive. Through this, the link between IT and business will be strengthened and improved. Simple, right?

Shifting Focus

The CIO must be aware of how their role will impact the needs of the organization, and ultimately their customers. Stikeleather asks CIOs, “Are you generating customer value?” Often, this is not the focus of the CIO, especially when the conversation seems better suited for marketing. The Enterprise Service Bus liberates the CIO by simplifying backend plumbing and facilitating information accessibility across the organization. This allows the CIO to implement strategies based on what is right for the organization, not what is limited by legacy architecture.

Take the case of “new media”: CIOs continue to overlook the value of customer data from social networks like Facebook; this vital and unique source of data can affect decisions and processes made across the organization.

Turning Off The Filter

Social data is potentially the most unadulterated piece of information a customer will share with a business. As social networks continue to grow, a feeling of anonymity lowers customer inhibitions; the “filter” is turned off. Social data can act as an instantaneous gauge of customer opinion, but only when it is as integrated as any other enterprise system. It must be able to easily talk to other systems in the organization in real time, otherwise its value is lost. This is something we are currently doing with CloudBus and Facebook QuickConnect. By allowing likes, posts, check-ins, and social events to be captured and correlated with any other application, a customer’s Facebook status instantly becomes another data point in understanding consumer preferences and behavior.

Beyond social data, a CIO must ensure the value of IT continues to expand by becoming a strategist who understands the organization from a broader perspective. CIOs can strategically shape their IT systems to better align with business goals by highlighting the significance of integration across the board.

To explore your integration strengths and weaknesses, take the self-assessment, the Integration Maturity Model.