Social Media: mini-Book Review, observations, and a cautionary tale for the need for Enterprise Governance of IT

Received “Inbound Marketing” from Amazon yesterday.  Overall a 3.5.  Its a very quick read; large type ~200 pages.  May be I’ve become jaded of late reading some many books of the past years.  However I found most of the content with little exception, covered in a more comprehensive manner in other books.  If you’re starting out in Social Media for your company, its a good first course in that it does give you a good overview and some practice actions you can take right away:

What it doesn’t do and I feel most books on the topic don’t, is set the expectation that Social Media is one tool of many in a marketer’s toolbox.  It seems with books flooding the selves, social media is the stone tablets for marketing.  With this and the IT Community jumping up and down about Big Data and Analytics appear to be creating the next “Prefect Storm” to beguile and ensnare the unwary CMO and CIO.

Approximately three years ago one of the enterprise architects I am mentoring had an initiative request to build the infrastructure for Big Data and Analytics.  I asked my mentee to go back and ask a few simple questions before going down that path:

  • Who in the line of business will use the capability?
  • Do they have the statistical background to use the data and analytics effectively?
  • What are they going to do with it?
  • What is their expectations for the capability?

The response was really scary; They had not thought about it that deeply and the staff that would use the capability had only minor knowledge of statistics.  This was a recipe for wasted expense and a negative ROI.  My strong recommendation was 1) dump the project or 2) Go back to the Line of Business sponsor to work out a plan to address these deficiencies. Option number two was taken and progress was made raising the maturity level of the line of business to exploit the technology.  Unfortunately, other initiatives where not viewed with such enterprise discipline and the IT Department was eventually restructured into what effectively is a project management organization that contracts services.  This seems on the surface to be a good solution as long as those in the EA PMO have a real enterprise focus to ensure services are developed that can be used and that those that request these have competency and capability to use them.  Otherwise all they’ve done is outsource the same IT problem and increased costs by having vendors build things that lay on the shelf.

The conclusion I have from seeing other enterprises of late is there is a storm coming to IT organizations like the internet bubble. The signs the party is over are becoming visible.  Many IT organizations have overstepped their capabilities to manage both infrastructure and service creation.  The governance of IT needs to be raised to an Enterprise level.  That does not mean the CEO approving data access rules, but it does suggest that IT Investments need to be discussed at that level as part of the capabilities, risks and strategy discussions.  Prior too IT busting out from under accounting, investments in capabilities (engineering, manufacturing, marketing, etc.) were discussed in context at the executive level.  IT from what I’ve seen is still looked at as a black box.  My belief is that the ITSM approach could remedy this as it has the possibility to remove the technology jargon from executive, board discussions and focus on benefits and liabilities these services incur to the enterprise such that strategic decisions can be made. Which if I may be so bold to plug my future book, is the reason I’m writing “Structure in Threes”



About briankseitz
I live in PacNW in a small town and work for Microsoft as a Enterprise strategy and architecture SME. I enjoy solving big complex problems, cooking and eating, woodworking and reading. I typically read between 4-8 business and technology books a month.

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