Do Social Media and Enterprise Architecture Coexist Well?
Innovation

Do Social Media and Enterprise Architecture Coexist Well?

Innovation - Do Social Media and Enterprise Architecture Coexist Well?

Posted byCIO Talk Radio onin Leadership/Management

A dynamic command of social media seems to some like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, an ever-retreating horizon.  After all, social media is driven by technology of a profoundly protean cast, and businesses require some measure of predictability.  But, as recent guests on CIO Talk Radio, ones centrally placed to know, concur:  social media is making business processes more efficient.

Sheila Jordan (VP of Communication & Collaboration IT, CISCO) and Gene Leganza (VP, Principal Analyst, Forrester) appeared together on CIO Talk Radio to discuss the subject of social media and enterprise architecture, and there was a fascinating debate on the proper relation of one to the other.  Gene Leganza appreciates the positive, powerful role of social media in the business world, but principally in the provinces of CRM and what Leganza speaks of almost paradoxically as “the formalization of innovation” (3:12-4:53).

Sheila Jordan, who envisions social media, if properly implemented, as battering down all intraorganizational barriers (geographical, functional, departmental) understands enterprise architecture revision as a train that has already left the station, as already underway across the board.  For Jordan, the only question is whether IT, presently disengaged, will play a leading role in social media implementation.

Jordan takes a holistic and reassuringly conservative line on social media.  She is holistic in that she emphasizes the need for its implementation as issuing from an overall company philosophy and set of objectives.  She is conservative in that she sees it not as radically reconstructing business infrastructure but as powerfully augmenting and rendering maximally synergistic existing resources (18:36-19:32).   Leganza, however, is wary of social media as an all-pervasive, transformative organizational presence, eloquently stressing instead its potential to counter the dissipative forces of globalization and unprecedented mobility with the collaborative empowerment of individuals to assert themselves as “heroes” of innovation through the reclamation voice (22:19-23:23).

When this rather extraordinary show was over, one was left wondering.  One wondered, especially given the persuasive position Leganza had taken, whether the CIO should be the one ultimately responsible for enterprise architecture with regard to social media.  It made perfect sense to me that Jordan would think so.  But Leganza had been an extremely articulate spokesman for the merely local effects of social media within the business organization, and that would suggest that he would probably disagree with Jordan on this point.  If a great conversation leaves one wanting more, this exchange between Sheila Jordan and Gene Leganza qualified easily.  One had more questions for Leganza at show’s end, questions that couldn’t be asked.  What was fascinating above all was Leganza’s response to the question of the ultimate responsibility of the CIO.  “Yes,” he said.  “The CIO should own it rather than an individual architect in diverse places in the organization because {social media implementation] is much bigger than one subject matter expert.” One can understand this position in terms of Jordan’s perspective, but it would be best to hear more of the conversation, question Leganza further.  Yet, alas, the show was over.

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