by Kristin Burnham

CIOs Must Embrace Social Networks to Drive Social Business

Apr 06, 20123 mins
Social Networking Apps

A new report that heralds the 25 most social CIOs misses the real headline. The research also reveals that just 10 percent of CIOs embrace social media. Could this be why businesses are so slow to adopt -- and successfully implement -- enterprise social networks?

Maybe it’s because their jobs are too demanding to make the time or maybe they’re just not interested, but one thing is clear: According to a new study, CIOs just aren’t into social media. Whatever the reason, it’s a bad sign.

hp-a-socialmedia.jpg, an enterprise solutions company that focuses on collaboration, released a report of the top 25 most social CIOs from the Fortune 250. It based its results on a formula that took into account information from Twitter,, LinkedIn, Google+ and Alexa.

For the full list of the most social CIOs, who come from companies such as SAP, Google, Royal Bank of Scotland, Microsoft, Supervalu and more, check out its infographic.

While seeing which CIOs are most social is interesting, perhaps what’s more news-worthy—or alarming, actually—is just how unengaged or disinterested CIOs are when it comes to social media. According to’s findings, a whopping 90 percent of CIOs are not social.

But, in context, is this all that surprising?

Last month, I wrote about how enterprise social networks deserved time and careful consideration. Enterprise social networking—some others might call the trend social business—is still very new, and it’s still evolving.

Gartner, in fact, predicts that by 2015, just 40 percent of large businesses will have the equivalent of a corporate Facebook network. One factor contributing to that statistic: Seventy percent of internal social initiatives eventually fail. That number doesn’t give the anti-social-networking CIOs much motivation to join the social business trend.

So will the slow success of social business make CIOs more social? Or will social CIOs make social business successful?

[Three Dangerous Social Media Misconceptions]

Many CIOs have had successful enterprise collaboration and social business implementations, and most of them share one common characteristic: They all realize the impact that Facebook and other social networks have had on the consumer world, and they acknowledge the change it has had on the way that employees work. And those CIOs embrace it.

Take Maarten de Vries, CIO of global consumer lifestyle business Philips, for example. He and his team realized that employees were already using sites like Facebook, Twitter and Yammer to communicate with one another, and so they explored enterprise collaboration solutions, eventually choosing Socialcast. In only eight weeks, they exceeded by 1,000 their year-end goal of 10,000 users.

The majority of CIOs clearly aren’t yet on board with social or haven’t made the time commitment to practice what they peach if they are believers, and this does their business a disservice. It may be a while before social business is the norm, but to be forward-thinking, CIOs need to know now how social media works outside the enterprise for them to successfully implement it within the business. It’s time for IT leaders to get off the social sidelines.