An interesting post titled “Does your company need a Chief Web Officer?” from David Berlind, a ZDNet blogger, has got me thinking about where ‘Web responsibilities’ fit in the modern day enterprise.
I had a really interesting meeting with a formidably tall (he’s a pro basketball player) and talented dude called Kwame Mdaka from Ontogeny this morning. Ontogeny specialises in linking IT service providers with specific needs in large corporates. One of Kwame’s questions for me was, “if I want to set up a meeting for you, which decision maker do I need to target?”
He had me stumped. The thing is, I sell progressive social Web interventions. I tell people where the Web is going and how they can strategically align themselves with those trends. That information is no longer applicable to the CIO or CTO alone.
It has applications in human resources (internally) – social software can be used to empower knowledge workers within companies. Then again it’s a message marketing departments do well to take note of – after all Web 2.0 is having an enormous impact on how companies and their customers interact. And if I’m right, and Web 2.0 is fundamentally something that could enhance the working lives, communication and productivity of an entire organisation, is that not a message that the CEO needs to hear?
In South Africa my experience is that many IT execs have ‘damage control’ as their unspoken job description. One could debate whether the Web has more to do with IT, strategy, marketing or people as it evolves beyond a collection of static borchure-like pages into a socially-driven computing platform.
What if, as David Berlind suggests, there is a new executive portfolio emerging in direct response to the ubiquitous invasion of the World Wide Web (never mind the Internet and gadgets that support it) in our daily personal and professional lives.
Isn’t time you seriously considered appointing or hiring a Chief Web Officer? Someone who is tasked with tracking these emerging trends and technologies and find ways to extract value from them for the company? Someone who will monitor the validity and effectiveness of the company’s Web presence (which is more than just a website, by the way). Someone who will look into deploying social platforms for better communication and collaboration within the company. Someone who will assist marketers and advertisers track the online conversation, engage consumers and build a consumer-generated content strategy?
Last thought. If you’re not going to hire someone specifically to fulfil this role, at least make an effort to learn about what’s happening. Subscribe to a few insightful podcasts and listen to them on the way in to work – maybe even distribute them to your leadership.
Too often I hear (and yes, it’s often an age-related response), “I don’t have the time”. Fair enough. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that you said the same thing about the Internet just over a decade ago.