Michael does the usual good job in framing the highlights, and tees up a strong case for the role of the CIO in leading Social Media within their organization. His report is worth the read. However, I want to reinforce with my own argument for the CIO taking the lead on any social project within the organization.
Social Data IS (quite simply) ENTERPRISE DATA.
A manufacturing CIO understands the critical nature of their Inventory availability data. A Retail CIO understands the vital nature of credit card processing systems. And Healthcare CIOs are kept up at night thinking about Patient Management systems.
Social Media data has – or is about to – achieve a similar level of criticality within most organizations. And with that promotion, it deserves to be treated as a first class data source – the same as inventory, credit card, and patient data.
Think about how Social Media has emerged as critical component of your sales, marketing or service workflows. Perhaps as a retailer you make merchandise buying decisions based on trends that you’re tracking from Facebook. Or as a quick serve restaurant chain you’re using check in information from location based services like four square to understand patron patterns, and where your next restaurant needs to be located. Or as national political party you need the ability to report in real time on the electorates view on key political topics – and that data is trending on Twitter. Think about the utility company who needs to respond to customer outrage over installation, availability, and billing problems. Or the airlines who just lost my luggage… Twitter is the first place they – and possible the world will hear about it.
It’s the CIO who understands how to manage, protect, insure, and secure this data. Only she can ensure it’s deliverability to the right people (and denial to the wrong people) in a timely fashion. And only she can effectively mash it out with other primary data sources within the enterprise to get a complete vire of the customer.
It’s time for us to start treating social data as ‘first class data’. It’s time for it to be taken seriously. It’s time for the CIO to start rationalizing and consolidating, and possibly enriching the data. For too long we’ve had regional, divisional, department and even personal ‘silos’ of data. That just won’t cut it any more.
If social media is to be leveraged in the enterprise to it’s fullest potential, it’s time for the CIO to lead.