It’s time to think radically differently about IT. Consumer and enterprise social media are creating a new world of engagement for businesses. How organizations deploy and manage these technologies will play a major role in determining their future success and their strategic advantage over business rivals.
At one time, organizations could derive competitive advantages simply by capturing, storing and categorizing data for use in running their business on a daily basis. But the systems of record that once paved the way for economic expansion are now considered mere table stakes.
Social media, mobile devices and cloud technologies are changing business communications practices. The era of engagement began with a focus on the company pushing messages to customers and employees, and it has morphed into a model in which customers and employees are pulling the business toward them using applications such as Facebook and Twitter.
Learn more about enterprise social media and related technologies
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This new world -- and its new systems of engagement -- requires new thinking about how information management can help companies achieve prosperity. Specifically, what are we trying to accomplish with IT and how do we view the people charged with managing this urgent mission?
The new generation of communication and collaboration tools supports connecting people in real time through smart and geographically aware mobile devices combined with inexpensive and ubiquitous bandwidth. It’s time for business to create a new framework and set of imperatives for how to collectively look at IT priorities in the era of these far-reaching technologies.
In my new e-book, #OccupyIT: A Technology Manifesto for the Cloud, Mobile and Social Era, I encourage business executives to engage in IT initiatives and consider these five steps for proactively prioritizing their organization’s IT projects:
- Commit to the cloud. Break down monolithic enterprise systems into more “app-like” ones that can be deployed quickly, independent of computing platforms and residing in the cloud.
- Mobilize everything. Design business processes to take advantage of mobile devices and mobile workforces.
- Make the business social. Integrate social media technologies into business processes instead of creating standalone enterprise social networks.
- Digitize anything that moves. Drive bottlenecks out of old processes (especially the use of paper) and make them more suited to the engaged world.
- Prepare for “extreme” information management. To help improve customer engagement, work to find insights and value in all the information that the business is storing.
Those five to-do items are the what behind the needed new IT strategy; the how involves a new breed of IT professionals. The emerging business and technology demands require workers who possess different skills from those of established IT roles. Addressing challenges calls for technical skills, but it also requires business process and customer acumen.
These new information professionals must be able to apply their deep knowledge of a particular domain to a broader context to fit together the pieces of processes that span systems of record and engagement. They will emerge from a variety of technical disciplines, including records managers, business analysts, information architects, process owners, digital marketers and community managers, to help transform the business.
Success will be driven by business professionals who view information management as an enterprise resource. The information professionals must understand how to help lead the refocusing of IT priorities and processes to engage customers, partners and employees.
The consumerization of enterprise IT means change is coming. It is time for businesses to “occupy IT” and lead the charge in the new era of engagement.
About the author:
John Mancini is president and CEO of AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) and author of six e-books. He also speaks frequently on the transformational challenges and opportunities facing information professionals. Mancini writes the Digital Landfill blog and can be followed on Twitter at @jmancini77 .
This was first published in July 2012