CIOs: Social Computing Is The Most Risky Emerging Technology

IBM recently published it’s 2010 Global Risk Study and the findings confirm that IT leaders today are very concerned about IT security and business resiliency.  The report found that 88% of those surveyed say that their company’s approach to risk is less than expert.  This comes at a time when there are increasing demands on IT leaders to accelerate their implementation of emerging technologies like cloud computing and social computing.

IBM surveyed 560 IT managers and CIOs from all types of companies located all over the world to talk in order to understand issues surrounding IT risks from the perspective of IT leaders.  IBM wanted to understand what their biggest obstacles are, where their biggest challenges lie, where they see the greatest potential for adding business value.

What caught my eye was a couple of questions in the survey that dealt with the risk involved with implementing emerging technologies.  Respondents to the survey were asked how their organization is positioned to acquire and deploy five emerging technologies

  1. Social computing/networking tools
  2. Mobile platforms
  3. Cloud computing
  4. Virtualization
  5. Service-oriented architecture (SOA)

Of these five technologies, social networking, mobile platforms and cloud computing were rated the most risky emerging technologies.    Social networking tools (64% respondents) came out on top as the technology that posed the greatest risk.  Second was mobile platforms (54%) followed by cloud computing (43%).  See the graph of the survey results below.

IBM Risk Study 2010  

According to the survey report, IT leaders say that the risks of these emerging technologies include issues related to accessibility, use and control of data (especially regarding social computing/networking), and the danger of having unauthorized access to confidential, proprietary information.

It’s not surprising that social networking/computing technologies is perceived as a risky emerging technology.   Most enterprises are still trying to figure out how to leverage social computing and extract business value.  There needs to be a greater focus by IT and Business leaders on establishing social computing processes, methods, and professional roles.   Once this is done, the risks can be minimized and social networking tools can be fully integrated into the IT infrastructure and business process workflow.

For More Information

Get the report  The evolving role of IT managers and CIOs Findings from the 2010 IBM Global IT Risk Study

Browse for more related information at the IBM Smarter Security & Resilience website.

Successful Social Media Marketing Requires A Dedicated Community Leader

The social media marketing trend is an important trend for businesses of all sizes.  Business leaders and marketing managers are realizing it can be used to help strengthen relationships and perceptions people have with a company, a brand, a product.

Most social media marketing efforts today need to apply the basics of community marketing and management.  Because at the heart of it, social media marketing efforts should be launched to strengthen relationships the target audience has with the topics and people that are important to your company’s success.  A successful community can accomplish that and more.

91955 I see many social media and community marketing efforts fail because of lack of funding for community management resources.  Many of these social sites and community efforts are developed to support a product launch and then a few months down the road the blog posts dwindle to a few posts a month, the tweets slow down, and the conversation stops.

To be highly successful, communities need to be funded for and supported by dedicated professionals fulfilling certain functions. There are four key functions that can help result in a successful community.

  • Exec Sponsor(s): Serves as the group’s champion, internally and externally. Is able to envision the value of the community over time to both the members as well as the organization.
  • Community Leader(s): Plays the most critical role in the community's success by energizing the sharing process and providing continuous nourishment for the community. Communicates a sense of passion and guides the community towards its goals through consulting, connecting, facilitating, helping, guiding
  • Community Council Members: Advises community leader in launching and sustaining the community. Frequently takes on additional roles as listed below.
  • Community Members: Without these there is no community; the essence of a community is its members. Contributes and extracts value via content, programs, and social/professional network

The community leadership is the most important function. My experience tells me that many in management think that communities 'can run themselves' without dedicated community leadership. Without dedicated community leadership, communities are subject to the momentary whims of the members, relying on the members’ discretionary willingness to perform such functions. In most cases, leaving the community to the membership results in a decline in activity. It is a rare community that can continue to survive without dedicated support.

Forrester says that there are four key tenets of a community leader: 

  • Community Advocate:  The community manager’s primary role is to represent the members of the community. They must listen, monitor, and respond to requests and conversations, both within the community platform and in email.
  • Brand Evangelist:  Community manager promotes events, products, and upgrades using traditional marketing tactics as well as being part of conversations within the community. The community manager must first earn and maintain trust.
  • Facilitator:  Defines, plans, and executes content strategy. Uses forums, blogs, podcasts, and other tools to create content. Mediates disputes: Encourages advocates and deals with — or when necessary removes — detractors. Works with corporate stakeholders to identify content, plan updates, publish, and follow-up.
  • Research and Development Contributor:  Gathers the requirements of the community and presents to product teams. Plans and analyzes results of surveys or focus groups. Facilitates relationships between product teams and customers.

To Forrester's list I'd add the following tasks that many community leaders end up performing themselves:

  • Social Media Manager:  Manages the communities presence in the social media and collaboration sites
  • Meeting Facilitation:  Schedules and facilitates meetings. Ensures meetings stay focused on goals of the community.
  • Subject Matter Expertise:  Shares knowledge and experience.  Ensures the community continues to seek out new and innovative solutions and methods.
  • Relationship Management:  Builds relationships between the members to strengthen the overall community.
  • Knowledge Management:  Gathers, posts and organizes the community knowledge.  Ensures all members have access to content created or referenced by the community.
  • Analyst:  Analyzes the community content and membership network to identify and extract value.
  • Technology Management:  Ensures that the community platform and tools supports the goals and objectives of the community.

These responsibilities do not have to be managed by a single individual. Many times there is more than one community leader.  Also, a good community leader has a good group of council members and one or more of the council members may be accountable for multiple responsibilities, which is likely in the early stages of community development.

So what type of skills are needed by the Community Leader? 

  • Strong online communication skills
  • Approachable and conversational
  • Has the ability to relate to members online and offline
  • Comfortable with Web 2.0, social media, and collaboration tools

Two other important requirements.    The community leader must 

  1. Have a passion for the community domain (topic area)
  2. Have a passion for helping others learn and collaborate. They must experience job satisfaction from helping others.

McKinsey: Ten Tech Trends That Business Leaders Should Watch

McKinsey Ten Trends Aug2010 About three years ago, McKinsey published Eight business technology trends to watch, which summarized it’s view of important tech trends for businesses.   About a month ago, the firm updated their list in the article “Clouds, big data, and smart assets: Ten tech-enabled business trends to watch”.  

McKinsey has always been an interesting source for business trends for me and so I was interested to take a look at their latest list.  And recently the firm has been increasing its research and content on IT and technology related to solving business issues, so I was interested in reading it’s latest list of business trends.

I’ve summarized the list below (based on my own understanding of the stated trends) and have provided my own perspectives. 

  1. Distributed Cocreation move Mainstream: Web 2.0 has evolved into a Social Media and Social Networking trend and there are significant implications for businesses and how they maintain relationships with all stakeholders.
  2. Making the Network Organization:  The Networked Organization is not a new concept, but with the advent of Social Networking, it’s importance is magnified.  All the social tools, platforms, and capabilities now play an important role in “Making the Network Organization”.
  3. Collaboration at Scale – This trend is related to the fact that technology alone does not drive greater collaboration.  There needs to be a better understanding of how collaboration is enabled, how knowledge is obtained as a result, and how to manage that knowledge once obtained.
  4. The Growing “Internet of Things”:  We are in a new phase in the evolution of IT systems where there are billions of devices and everyday objects will become interconnected and networked via the Internet.  More on this trend here The Internet of Things.
  5. Experimentation and Big Data:  All those devices that will be connected and networked (via #4 above) will lead to mountains of data.  Businesses will need advanced analytic capabilities in order to make sense of all the data.  Successful businesses will use that capability in order to experiment and drive innovation across enterprise processes.
  6. Wiring for a Sustainable World:  Business leaders need to figure out how to use technology for sustainable growth.  IT can be a means to increase sustainability through things like smart grids, smarter buildings, smarter transportation, etc.
  7. Imagining Anything as a Service:  Cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) are undeniable trends in IT today and will drive new business models we have not even thought of today.
  8. The Age of the Multisided Business Model:  This trend is directly related to trends 2 and 3 above.  As networked collaboration evolves, companies will increasingly find that they are playing multiple roles in multiple networks.
  9. Innovation at the Bottom of the Pyramid:  As emerging markets are the growth engine of the global economy, we should expect innovation to come from those markets.  Successful business leaders will incubate and nurture efforts to look for growth outside of their home markets and customer segments.
  10. Producing Public Good on the Grid:  Technology has an important part to play in creating and providing public goods and making this world a better, safer, and more productive place.  For examples of how technology can enable these benefits, see IBM’s Smarter Cities initiatives.

To read the complete McKinsey article and/or check out a wealth of other resources, please click here to sign up for a free online subscription to The McKinsey Quarterly.

CIOs: Are YOU Participating In The Social Media?


(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.

InfoBoom: How Can CIOs Leverage Social Computing?

InfoBoom Mar16 This week I have authored the featured article on The InfoBOOM! community site (  The article is written for CIOs, CTOs, and IT Leaders who have yet to get involved in the social media or who are wondering how to implement social computing solutions. 

If you know of any IT leaders, you may want to point them to the article.  It will be interesting to hear from CIOs what their challenges are with this disruptive trend.

About The Article

The article, Opening the Social Computing Door, provides some guidance for CIOs and IT leaders on how they can start leveraging social computing in their careers and for the enterprises they serve.  There is much work to do.  My research has shown that there are a relatively few number of CIOs that are truly demonstrating leadership in the social media today.

I break the article up into four sections

  1. Participating in Conversations
  2. Gaining Business Leverage
  3. Getting Smarter
  4. Jumping In

I provide links to research I’ve done that shed some like on what leading CIOs are doing in the social media and how it can be leveraged in the enterprise environment.   It’s my hope the article helps CIOs and IT leaders get started.  I’d be interested in any feedback you may have. 

About InfoBOOM!

The InfoBOOM! community has been developed via a partnership between and IBM.  The site is about a year old and is an online community environment that fosters the free exchange of ideas among experts, midmarket CIOs and technology leaders.   The focus is on giving IT leaders at small and mid-sized firms the insights and perspectives they need on vital issues.  Each week, a new expert is featured and an article is written by that expert that provides a point of view on an important topic.  Then, Jim Malone, Senior Editorial Director a authors a complementary or contrarian view.   As a result of the two articles, important discussion and collaboration happens each week on the selected topic.   Thus each week InfoBOOM! fosters open dialogue and contrary points of view between the editor, experts and members.  I encourage you to check out the site at

Enterprise 2.0: The Value of Online Communities

The trend of building online Communities of Practices and Customer Communities is an important trend I’ve been watching (and leading/participating in) for a number of years.  I often get asked:  What is the business value of online communities? 

Unfortunately community platforms are lacking tools for community leaders that would allow us to track and measure the impact that these communities have on business results.  So it is a very subjective measurement today.  Note to community platform vendors:  Community Leaders need better dashboard tools.

I have established a graphic that I use to explain the power of communities and the value it can generate to an enterprise.  The story line to the graphic goes something like this:  Community Participation leads to increased Enterprise Knowledge, which leads to improved Organizational Capabilities, which results in positive Business Value for enterprises.  

Here’s my stab at a graphic (Note:  Click on the picture to enlarge and reformat)

Value of Communities

(Click on picture to enlarge) 

Do you have any better graphics, reports, or slide decks that illustrate the business value of communities?  If so, please let me know!   For some resources I’ve uncovered on the value and ROI of social media and online communities, check out my previous post:  Learning About The ROI of Social Media and Online Communities

IDC: Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) Top Ten 2010 Predictions

In 2010, it will be the organization that is able to transform itself to effectively partner with complimentary industries, enable its sales force to sell across multiple business units, and finally create flexible pricing and delivery models that will come out on top.”  – Simon Piff, director, Enterprise Infrastructure, IDC Asia/Pacific.

IDC IDC has published their list of 2010 predictions for the Asia Pacific region excluding Japan.  In publishing the list, IDC says that two themes will dominate events in the IT and telecommunications markets in 2010:  recovery and transformation.   In 2010 IDC says we should expect modest growth to return to IT and telecommunications spending.  While IDC does not anticipate spending levels to return to levels that we saw before the economic crisis , opportunities do exist.

IDC points out that economic crisis we have seen over the last year has resulted in a shift by businesses to a more customer-centric decision-making process when determining new corporate initiatives.  With that has been an emphasis on customer-driven analytics, Web 2.0 and other social media components. 

With that as background, here are IDC’s 2010 top 10 predictions for the AP marketplace (excluding Japan).

  1. The Maturing Cloud Will Need Five 9 Service-Level Agreements and Enterprise-Grade Cloud Services
  2. Business Analytics Will Emerge as a Key Technology Area
  3. Enterprise Use of Social Media Will Increase
  4. Converged Fabric and Evolving Datacenter Will be Centerpieces of Transformation
  5. Evolutions of SaaS to Kaas: It Will be all About Business Process Transformation
  6. Smartphones in Emerging Markets Will Rise
  7. Converged Hardware Will Herald the Dawn of the Enterprise Alliance
  8. Chargeback 3.0 Will Receive Renewed Interest from the CFO
  9. Intelligent X Will Emerge: Building a Smarter and More Measurable World
  10. Machine To Machine Interaction Will Get More Traction

The full report Asia/Pacific (Excluding Japan) 2010 Top 10 Predictions Seven Media Predictions for 2010 from eMarketer’s CEO

emarketer-logo eMarketer is out with some predictions for 2010.  The article, written by Geoff Ramsey, CEO and Co-Founder of eMarketer, focuses on trends in advertising, media, and marketing. Here’s the seven predictions.

  1. During 2010, as US ad budgets crack open just a little, look for an accelerated migration of ad dollars from traditional to digital media.
  2. Even post-recession, aggregate media dollars will fail to return to former levels.
  3. Media consumption will continue to explode, becoming more distributed, personalized, and contextualized.
  4. Traditional advertising will  play a smaller role as paid content and hybrid models emerge.
  5. Advertising on social networks will never attract a large share of marketers’ ad dollars. Social marketing works best when it’s earned, not paid for.
  6. Marketers will be increasingly willing to trade off reach for deeper engagement.
  7. The classic interruption/disruption model of advertising will erode, if not fade away.

eMarketer, with its articles, charts and analysis, is a good source to validate media based trends   More information on each of these seven predictions can be found at Geoff Ramsey’s post at Seven Predictions for 2010 from eMarketer’s CEO

Sydney Morning Herald: Top 10 business technology trends for 2010

Here’s a perspective of of top 10 business technology trends from ‘down under’.  I found this article written by Simon Sharwood at the online version of the  Sydney Morning Herald.  Here’s a quick summary.

  1. Cloud computing.  The article says to watch out for three types of cloud services 1) software-as-a-service, 2) infrastructure as a service, and 3) internal clouds.
  2. Four big Microsoft upgrades.  1) Office 2010, 2) SharePoint 2010, 3) Exchange 2010, 4) Windows 7
  3. Virtualization.  This trend continues to evolve at an impressive pace.
  4. Biometric authentication.  This technology is ready for wider deployment in 2010.
  5. Next-generation firewalls.  Firewalls can now take over some of the functions of other security appliances.
  6. Employee-owned IT.   Employees bringing their own computers to work.
  7. Loyalty schemes.  This trend going mainstream in 2010.
  8. Solid state disks.  These disks are smaller, faster, cooler and use less power than conventional disks.
  9. Smart grids.  Allows power companies to predict demand more precisely, reducing waste.
  10. Hybrid servers.  Trend towards all-in-ones that pack a server, storage and other goodies needed to run business applications into a single box

It’s an interesting trends list.  Not all will be on my top 10 list, but all are good trends we should understand.  Check out the full article “Top 10 business technology trends for 2010

Nielsen: Top 10 Online Web Brands in America

The Nielsen Company has recently released released a year-end report with numerous top 10 lists that take a look at what’s important to Americans.  One of the top ten lists published was the “Top 10 Online Web Brands” (as measured at both U.S. Home & Work)

  1. Google (147,301)
  2. Yahoo! (134,179)
  3. MSN/WindowsLive/Bing (112,389)
  4. YouTube (100,211)
  5. Facebook (94,459)
  6. Microsoft (92,086)
  7. AOL Media Network (91,548)
  8. Fox Interactive Media (68,951)
  9. Wikipedia (59,226)
  10. Apple (58,503)

The numbers in the parenthesis represents the average monthly unique audience in thousands as measured by the Nielsen Company.  The data is from June – October 2009.  See PDF version of this press release for data.

MarketingProfs Community weighs in with 2010 Marketing Predictions

Beth Harte of MarketingProfs recently provided a post titled “11 Smart Marketers Shared Their 2010 Predictions” in which she had polled the MarketingProfs LinkedIn Group for a list of 2010 Marketing predictions.   The post is an interesting read, so I thought I’d mention it here and provide you with the links over to her post.

Eleven marketers from all backgrounds, industries, and expertise responded to the call for 2010 marketing related predictions.  Here’s my quick summary of the predictions.

  1. Integrated Marketing – Trend towards integrating print and electronic marketing
  2. Social Media – Businesses need to reduce duplication and improve synergies
  3. Integrated Marketing Communications – Reaching customers more intimately via different channels via relevance, targeting, addressibility
  4. Data analytics – Trend towards using data and analytics to make communications more personal
  5. Marketing & Sales – Better teaming is needed now more than ever between all disciplines (advertising, PR, Integrated Marketing, Sales, Market Intelligence, etc)
  6. Transparency – Customers hold the power and as such are forcing businesses to provide even more information about products and services
  7. Social Media & Research – Market research is being transformed by social media explosion.
  8. Mobile Marketing – 2010 just may be the inflection point when true mobile marketing takes off.

I encourage you to read the full post at 11 Smart Marketers Shared Their 2010 Predictions

Thoughts On B2B Social Media Adoption Factors and Implications

Just some thoughts on the trend towards social computing and the implications it will have….

Trends Driving The Adoption of Social Media/Social Computing

  • Consumerization of IT: Technology is trickling into the enterprise from consumers who are using cutting-edge IT at play – “Web 2.0”
  • Multi-Generational Workforce – As older generations (Baby Boomers) exit the workforce, younger – very different ones – (Gen X, Gen Y – a.k.a. Millennials) enter.
  • Extreme Competition – Quickening pace of globalization creates both new markets and new competitors
  • Next Wave of the Web – Web 2.0 is representing a wave of intense innovation with rich participatory models & programmability.
  • Social Networks – Technology & services that create unique profiles, map out relationships, & leverage personal connections.
  • Innovation Networks – New business model that enables firms to match their demand for innovation with global talent
  • Next Era of the Digital Age – Connecting & monitoring of products & devices.
  • Virtual Worlds – Virtual realities (Second Life) have peaked in hype.  Do they still represent a real-world opportunity?

Audiences Are Taking Control Over The Messages

  • Audiences don’t always trust traditional messages and channels
    • Dismissive of “corporate spin,” the “organizational voice”
    • Credibility shifting to individual voices — personal influence is personal!
  • Audiences are taking control of the message and the medium
    • Individuals are participating and becoming highly influential
    • Organizational role becoming that of influencer as much as authority
    • Dialogue is now a critical element for outreach
    • Does your product do what you say? Is it a promise kept or broken?
    • Transparency is everything.
    • Audiences have more choices than ever before
    • There are about 23,000 daily newspapers and news periodicals around the world. 
    • There are a few hundred million blogs worldwide

Implications for Marketing Strategists

  • An active conversation is being held about your brand in the marketplace.  All brands should want (and need) to participate in and influence the conversation taking place about products and services.
  • Online communities are plentiful, large and efficient.  Representation ranges from Business Partners to enterprise-focused technology buyers and influencers to media to analysts to other bloggers
  • Social media tools allow us to hear, first-hand, from our clients and prospective clients.  The opportunity to listen and collect intelligence is immense. Potential to influence product requirements and functions, GTM strategy, sales, support, etc.
  • The potential for community among loyalists is profound. Customers talk to one another.  Empower them to be your best advocates. They are your living case studies.

Key Steps in any Social Media Strategy

  • Monitor. Listen to the market conversation to better understand your current position in the marketplace. Understand what the marketplace is (or isn’t) saying about your brand, product, service, etc. Start to understand the tone and impact of that conversation. Begin identifying areas of opportunity for helping shape that conversation and to gather valuable market intelligence
  • Identify and Engage. Identify and engage key influencers who are influencing the market conversation around your brand, product, or service. Establish some prioritization as to who is impacting the market conversation the most. Develop strategies for engaging those influencers through social media capabilities. Establish enduring and mutual productive relationships with the influencers. Empower their advocacy of your product or capability
  • Maximize Distribution. Maximize distribution and impact of key digital marketing assets. Ensure maximum portability and utilization of those assets. Ensure optimal exposure and forward mobility of key marketing messages into the marketplace. Share location of assets with all stakeholders to ensure the widest distribution of the central page and its associated assets.
  • Empower Advocacy. Build and foster brand loyalists and empower them to advocate on behalf of your brand. Build a sense of community among your brand loyalists. Empower those loyalists to better advocate to other key constituents on behalf of your brand, products, and services.
  • Measure to Understand the Impact. Have some way of identifying measurable progress. Quantify the return on your social media investment. Understanding the impact of social programs enables you to benchmark against future efforts.