CIOs: Are YOU Participating In The Social Media?

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(Note:  I originally posted this as Opening The Social Computing Door at InfoBoom, but thought readers here on HorizonWatching would enjoy the post as well)

At the heart of it, social computing really is all about enabling conversations between two or more people in an open environment. By making conversations more public, we can all learn from each other.  The benefits are very similar to the trend of open source development.  Social computing promotes open conversations instead of ‘behind closed doors’.  In doing so, we encourage learning and collaboration.  And that leads to better decision making.

So how should CIO’s be leveraging social media in their careers and for the enterprises they serve?

Participating in Conversations
First, future IT leaders can begin adding their voice to public conversations happening about subjects important to the IT industry.  If you aren’t participating in the public conversation, you can’t influence it.  My research, 2009 CIO Award Winners Are Not Embracing Social Media, found that 35 industry award-winning CIOs and IT leaders are not active in the social media.   These and future award winning IT leaders should be sharing their thoughts in a public space, not only behind the closed doors.  

For one perspective on this topic, John Suffolk, CIO of the UK Government discusses his views on blogging in Should CIOs blog publicly? and his views on the evolving role of the CIO as a Chief Collaboration Officer.

Gaining Business Leverage
Secondly, CIOs can help the business leadership team in achieving goals for the enterprise by providing leadership and guidance on how to leverage social computing and collaboration platforms, both internally and externally:

  • Learn how transformational social media can be to helping increase growth and/or drive productivity to improve the bottom line. 
  • Work with business leaders to find ways to embed social computing into the framework of every enterprise business process, including product development, marketing, sales, and customer support.  

I’ve compiled links to resources, blog posts, and articles that can help you understand just how transformational social media can be. Check them out at:  Social Media Case Studies and Lessons Learned.

Getting Smarter
To work smarter, we’ll need smarter organizations — enhancing and benefiting from their people’s expertise, enterprise and creativity, rather than inhibiting them.  CIOs can lead in transforming the collaborative infrastructure and processes of our places of work by enabling social conversations that will allow employees, partners, and customers to take advantage of the full scope of an instrumented, interconnected and intelligent planet.

Jumping In
Interested in following some CIOs that are active in the social media?  My research Top 50 CIO and IT Leaders in the Social Media, provides you with a list of CIOs who are setting an example for others on how to leverage the social media.   Explore their blogs and tweets, learn from them, and perhaps you can start adding your thoughts to the conversations as well. 

Want to be more active in the social media, but not sure how you should get started?  Check out my post Leveraging Social Media: 12 Steps To Develop Your Personal Online Brand.

Ten Popular IBM Smart Service Oriented Architecture SOA Articles

IBM SOA Newletter - July I’m on a distribution list for the IBM Smart SOA and BPM Newsletter, which is a great newsletter (it received a 2009 Hermes Award in the e-newsletter category). 

The June 26, 2010 newsletter had a number of interesting articles, including:

  • How agile companies create and sustain high ROI
  • Connect cloud and on-premise applications
  • Resources for smarter banking

However, the one article that caught my eye was an article titled “Top IBM Smart SOA articles”.  I’ve been interested in Business Process Re-Engineering topics since leading a early-mid 1990’s IBM team on a journey to rewrite and deploy new marketing management processes.  That was a multi-year effort that spanned every division and geography in IBM.  I learned a bunch from that experience about how to architect a business for marketing management processes.

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a great tool that we did not have in the mid 1990’s.  SOA promises to create greater alignment between IT and line of business while generating more flexibility – IT flexibility to support greater business flexibility.   We all know that the explosion of the Internet is creating new business models and this is causing business processes to change faster and faster.  To be competitive, businesses requires the flexibility that SOA can provide. 

The article “Top IBM Smart SOA articles” provides a nice list of the most popular articles (as downloaded by readers).  The list covers a wide range of topics related to SOA and the articles are great reading for any business or IT leader that is passionate about improving business processes.  I’ve summarized the list here for you.

  1. Managing the complexity of business processes  This article discusses an approach to controlling the development and maintenance efforts for business processes by limiting their complexity.
  2. SOA and integration in the cloud bring agility and value down to earth.  Leveraging a cloud-based integration solution delivered as a service provides an easily scalable approach to business integration.
  3. Make a BPM business case and learn 11 habits for success
    Links to two new white papers that help you make a case for BPM and understand how to be successful.
  4. Getting started with BPM: Find the best entry point
    In this article, IBM describes three common entry points to BPM, helping you understand how to get started with BPM.
  5. Advanced case management and BPM: Better together
    This article describes two concepts and how they relate to each other 1) the value that business process management (BPM) brings to the knowledge worker, and 2) the value of the additional technology components behind advanced case management (ACM)
  6. Ideas for innovation from the Smart Work Jam
    This article provides an overview of the highlights and insights as harvested from the Smart Work Jam, where for 72 hours, more than 2,000 participants from 68 countries "jammed" with nearly 5,000 posts across seven topics around the topic of working smarter.
  7. Outperforming companies share new way of working
    This article summarizes findings from an IBM Institute for Business Value study called "A New Way of Working: Insights from Global Leaders."   The study was designed to find out what makes leaders more dynamic, collaborative and connected; and the common barriers that prevent them from working smarter.
  8. Making SOA governance fit your organization
    This article helps you tailor Service Oriented Architecture governance to your organization, with tips from a book by IBM authors, based on their experiences with customers. 
  9. How SOA can ease your move to cloud computing
    This article helps those of you wanting to get started with cloud computing.  It describes how taking time to set up your SOA environment can give you an important jump start on cloud computing.
  10. Serious games for smarter skills: The future of learning
    Gaming is only for play time.  this article describes how gaming technology can play a role in helping us improve business processes.

So if you are thinking your business processes need some re-engineering, I’d recommend taking a look at applying Service Oriented Architecture methodologies upfront.  SOA can provide your company with an architectural model for integrating business partners’, customers’ and suppliers’ services into an enterprise’s business processes.

You can access the online issue of the whole newsletter, IBM Smart SOA & BPM Newsletter – Vol. 43.  You can also access all back level issues of the newsletter via http://www-931.ibm.com/bin/newsletter/tool/parchive.cgi?nlId=10481 where you can also set up a subscription for yourself so you get the newsletter emailed directly to you every month.

My Thoughts on the Cloud Computing Trend

Last month I posted "IBM Cloud Computing White Papers".  In that post I provide summaries and links to a number of white papers IBM has posted on the Cloud Computing topic. 

SWSC16 As I mention in that post, I did a bunch of research on the topic of Cloud Computing back in late 2007 and 2008.  The post last month gave me the opportunity to reflect on the cloud computing trend.  In 2008 it was an emerging buzzword in the IT industry.  Today, 2 years later, the concept is a little more defined and the hype has died down a bit. 

Yes, there is more that needs to happen before the true potential of cloud computing becomes a reality, but there is no question that we all need to pay attention to the vision of cloud computing…because cloud computing (or whatever it ends up being called) is the future of the IT industry. 

Why you ask?  There are a number of reasons.  But primary in my mind is that it offers businesses the promise of business agility.   Agility enables the business to respond quickly to customer requests for new products and services.  It also allows businesses to partner more quickly to reach new markets faster.  And it also allows businesses to quickly change in the face of competition.  Here are some basic reasons why the cloud computing concept will take off.

  • Economics: Clouds will require a very small up front investment.  Usage will be be billed by consumption.  The resulting reduction in Total Cost of Ownership will allow businesses to pursue improvements in operational efficiency and productivity.
  • Risk Management:  In some cases, there will be no fixed time commitment.  This will allow businesses to try many new services faster.  This reduces big failure risks and allows clients to be innovative.
  • Time to Market:  Businesses will be able to adopt new services quickly for pilot usages and then scale quickly to a global scale.
  • Information Society:  Cloud computing will provide business executives value-added information generated by the collection and analysis of massive amounts of unstructured data.
  • Ubiquitous Society:  The cloud treats all devices the same making the cloud accessible via a heterogeneous set of devices (sensors, kiosks, PC, mobile device, telematics..)

In today's fast world, new competitors, with innovative business models (e.g. Google, Amazon, etc.), seem to be able to rapidly change their business.  To match these types of competitors, businesses must have a business architecture and an IT infrastructure that is flexible enough to respond quickly to all opportunities and threats.  The emerging cloud computing concept enables businesses to become more agile because it offers the ability to get to market quickly, and with a lower capital expense.  It also assures that as demand increases, resources can be added incrementally, without the need for major architecture changes.

From an IT standpoint, business agility implies the ability to rapidly build and configure tailored solutions which span internal and external systems.  Cloud computing can enable the development of applications in real-time and then also enables them to be quickly deployed globally to any device from sensors to mobile device to PCs.  Once developed, Line of Business executives need those applications to execute in real-time, scaling to meet the needs of the business.   Follow on generations of applications must be able to handle increasingly higher amounts of data as the user base grows.  Once running, applications in the cloud offer non stop operation.  Users aren't burdened by HW and SW upgrades.  

In the future, there will be all sorts of new types of services enabled because of computing clouds.  Services we can''t even imagine right now.  The fact is that the more applications and services that are deployed in the cloud, the more opportunities there are to leverage services provided by others in the same or other clouds.

The biggest 'hurdles' to realizing the vision of cloud computing is security, privacy, & risk Management issues.  These issues can be HUGE to overcome.  The security issues will be very complex to solve and a number of the white papers I summarized in the post "IBM Cloud Computing White Papers" discuss those security issues.

I do believe that we will solve the 'hurdles' and businesses will learn to trust running our systems in the 'clouds'.   Remember the initial fear you had of buying things online with your credit card?  I bet you do that now with much less fear.  Perhaps you don't even think about it.

Anyway, Cloud Computing is a disruptive force in the Information Technology industry and it is one of the trends I will continue to watch closely.