by Matt Kapko

Day in the life of a social CIO: Oliver Bussmann of UBS

Feb 03, 2016
CIOIT LeadershipSocial Networking Apps

The Global CIO of UBS is a social media superstar, boasting tens of thousands of followers on Twitter and LinkedIn. He shares four simple steps that can help IT pros develop areas of expertise and build large followings in six to nine months.

During his 26 years in IT, Oliver Bussmann transformed large banking and insurance businesses. Today, as he navigates the modern IT landscape, Bussmann finds his greatest inspiration in an unlikely place: social media sites. The global CIO of Swiss bank UBS says social media is both an exciting way to express his opinions online and a critical tool for today’s IT executive. 

Bussmann’s social media journey started six years ago, and he has since collected more than 15,000 followers on Twitter and more than 22,000 followers on LinkedIn. 

Oliver Bussmann’s daily social routine

oliver bussman pic

UBS CIO Oliver Bussmann

After he wakes up around 5 a.m. each morning and then checks work email, Bussmann peruses Twitter and LinkedIn to find the latest IT news, gain new perspective on important issues and share his thoughts on topics such as financial technology, what he calls “FinTech,” or the Bitcoin-based blockchain technology

“As a CIO, I have to be part of a communication, and communication means two-way communication internally and externally,” Bussmann says. “I try to maximize whenever I have time to communicate or absorb information.” Social media sites help him do just that.

[Related Feature: Day in the life of a social CIO: LPL Financial’s Victor Fetter]

Bussmann also looks to social media to help learn about new subjects, engage with his audience and comment on key topics he’s passionate about. “If you find the right topic, if you build expertise, if you believe in that, and you can demonstrate that and be authentic in what you’re willing to share,” social media can help you become a genuine IT thought leader, Bussmann says.

4 steps to social media success

Bussmann has a four-step process that he says professionals should follow to develop expertise on social media in areas of interest:

  1. Find thought-leaders and community influencers on a specific subject.
  2. Purposefully seek out people with different viewpoints on new areas of interest.
  3. Engage and share opinions with relevant communities.
  4. Provide unique content via tweets, blog posts, video and more.

How busy execs can stay on top of social

Bussmann uses a tool called Buffer to schedule posts and manage the content he shares on Twitter and LinkedIn. He is often in meetings until 7 p.m. or later, and he can’t monitor social sites all day, so, Bussmann also keeps up on developments in different regions and industries via more traditional business media like The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and Financial News.  

Bussmann purposefully maintains a “clear borderline” between his professional and personal lives on social media, and he uses Facebook only to keep in touch family and friends. However, CIOs should proudly share team milestones or company developments in more appropriate channels, such as Twitter or LinkedIn, he says.

[Related Analysis: CIO says blockchain will heavily impact financial services]

When CIOs use social media effectively, they can raise their IT organizations’ profiles and help the business view IT as innovative, according to Bussmann. “Social media becomes an integral part of your innovation strategy … If you find that balance I think it can be very powerful in the end.” Bussmann says. “IT is changing and communication is critical for that, and using [social media] is I think one of the critical success factors to be able to move forward.”