You say we need to move from systems of record to systems of engagement. What\u2019s the difference?\n\n Systems of record are characterized by having a relational database and applications that feed it. For decades, we were building these systems because they were necessary for running global commerce. It was an enormous undertaking. But it was like building the highway system. Once it\u2019s built, it\u2019s built.\n \n Now, with the globalization of commerce, regions have specialized roles. Customer service in India. Manufacturing in China. RaannddD in Silicon Valley. Marketing in New York. As economies get more complex and ambitious, the need to collaborate and engage has increased dramatically.\n \nAren\u2019t big companies doing that already?\n\n Oh, iPads consumerize the interface to some systems of record and to email. It\u2019s a beginning. But we should operate like Facebook. We need real-time communications like Twitter. We need to be able to use video aggressively, particularly when we\u2019re talking across cultures. You\u2019re making decisions with people you don\u2019t know as well as you\u2019d like. The more richness you can bring to that interaction, the better.\n \nOne goal of better engagement is faster decision making. Are slow decisions holding companies back?\n\nBig decisions get made at whatever pace they need to be made. I\u2019m thinking more of: I want to make an offer to Harry; I need my boss\u2019s approval, but he\u2019s on a plane to Singapore. There\u2019s 24 to 48 hours of latency in routine decisions. Consumers have taken all the latency out of interacting. I want to text you, point you toward the open requisition and have you give your digital signature.\n \n In a global supply chain, allocation issues or parts-substitution issues or a client blowup happen every day. Being able to jump on them without letting them fester will have dramatic returns.\n \nHow will video help?\n\n A factory manager can pull out a Flip video and say, \u201cHere\u2019s the problem. I can\u2019t reach under here.\u201d Even if there\u2019s a language barrier, you have a video to show you. The more rapid and natural the cadence of communication, the higher the quality of the collaboration.\n \nAnd how does social media change \u00adcollaboration?\n\n Collaboration 1.0 was Lotus Notes and the Web. Then we got wikis. All are mediated by a document. We capture ideas in a document. But today\u2019s consumer experience with collaboration is real-time, mediated by voice, text and video, not documents. These are time-based record types\u2014a WebEx conference, a video, a Twitter stream.\n \nWhat are some ways CIOs can use social media?\n\n Where I would take a risk is with a group of people who I thought could really change the performance of the enterprise. There are moments of engagement with customers or partners where your company\u2019s capabilities are tested. Every time there\u2019s a handoff in your supply chain, that\u2019s a test. Do you complete it? Does something delay it? Take the latency out of all the tiny decisions that happen in a day, such as the open-requisition problem.\n \n I encourage CIOs not to invest in systems on a blanket basis but in those small-but-important junctures. Who are the key people in this moment and what tools have we given them?\n \n The front-line workers have an enormous number of tools. The executive suite has business intelligence. But we haven\u2019t invested much in middle-management layers. Sure, they have laptops and BlackBerrys. But almost none of the IT spend goes to the middle of the organization.\n \nSo the middle needs \u00adcollaboration tools, video and \u00adtelepresence?\n\n If you look at how the global economy works, the middle is key. They are the ones who call each other and fly around. \n \n If the CIO brought this conversation about engagement to a line of business, he\u2019d have their total attention and new budget money.\n Follow Senior Editor Kim S. Nash on Twitter: @knash99.