Most CIOs I talk to want to spend more time on strategy--not platform strategy or application strategy, but business strategy. The fun part of their job isn't about keeping the lights on or the servers cooled. It's about using technology to fundamentally improve the way their companies do business.
Strategic relevance can be a sore spot for CIOs. Although most line managers agree in principle that IT is strategically important, CIOs still struggle for a seat at the strategy table. Senior leaders in manufacturing and other operationally intensive industries understand the importance of IT. But in other sectors, line management has a hard time seeing IT as more than a back-office support function. That's particularly true in professional services, pharma, media, and other knowledge-intensive industries which traditionally create value through individual talent rather than operations.
Enterprise 2.0 is changing all that.
Managers outside traditional IT strongholds are realizing that wikis, blogs, social networking, micromessaging, and other forms of online collaboration are dramatically changing the way people interact with each other. Most of the early Enterprise 2.0 implementations were driven by non-IT experimentation. Use of Enterprise 2.0 tools has been heaviest in precisely those knowledge-intensive industries that traditionally discount the strategic value of IT.
As Enterprise 2.0 matures, we are entering a strategic phase. Companies are moving beyond their early, ad-hoc, unmanaged experiments, and trying to figure out how it all fits together--not just for an individual department or project, but for the company and its customers. As one client told me last week, "We've done more to advance the company's strategy today than I have in the past year."
If you're a CIO, your company is looking to you to show the way. How will Enterprise 2.0 change the way you do business? What benefits can your company realize? How will this change the way you collaborate internally? How will it change your interactions with customers?
This is a golden opportunity to move out of the back office and drive your company's business strategy. Are you ready?