Smart Enterprise Magazine

Volume 7, Number 1, 2013

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Social Business IT Gets LinkedIn New research finds CIOs increasingly turn to social networks for trust, efficiency, relevance and access. | By Karyl Scott CIOs Get Social Social network use among IT decision makers Visit at least one social network monthly 88% Use at least one social network for business 85% Have engaged with an IT vendor on a social network 73% 0%20 40 60 80100 DATA: LinkedIn, ���IT Purchasing Goes Social,��� surveys of 400 North American IT decision makers in various industries, August 2012 Note: Multiple responses were permitted 36 of experts for information, best practices, LinkedIn Maps, such as the one recommendations and more. ���The need to above, visualize drive business innovation on a daily basis personal netmeans you have lots of different stakeholdworks. Like a ers,��� Weir says. ���Each person has different fingerprint, each needs at various stages of the project.��� map is unique. Social networks can help CIOs find the information they need to make good IT decisions by providing a platform for both research and validating decisions. After all, decision making isn���t a linear process. Nearly half of all IT decision makers use social networks during key phases of their technology projects, LinkedIn reports. These phases include research, planning, product-selection and implementation. Socially Relevant In large part, that���s because IT executives find the social network relevant, trustworthy and efficient. LinkedIn members can gain access to IT vendors they do business with, ���like��� them, track their products and earnings announcements, and join groups that provide in-depth views of specific technology and business issues. ���IT professionals face a new challenge,��� Weir of LinkedIn explains. ���On the one hand, they have to live within their silo to understand the strategic vision and execute against highly complex projects. On the other hand, they���re also being asked to step outside their traditional function and be business leaders. The trust, efficiency, relevance and access of social networks helps.��� In addition, many IT executives use LinkedIn to find background information on people they���re meeting for the first time. Increasingly, a look at someone���s LinkedIn profile has become standard operating procedure when preparing for a meeting. ���You want to know whom you���re meeting with, and what that person���s expertise is,��� says Weir. LinkedIn isn���t resting on its laurels. In a recent interview with CNET, the company���s CEO, Jeff Weiner, predicted that LinkedIn will soon evolve into a ���social graph��� that maps professional relationships and knowledge across the globe. Weiner also expects LinkedIn���s product offerings to expand and include activities, such as analyzing skills gaps and creating just-in-time training programs. With members in more than 200 countries around the world, LinkedIn offers the kind of scale and scope IT decision makers need. n Karyl Scott writes about technology and business from San Diego. Image: Courtesy of LinkedIn T echnology leaders looking to make better-informed decisions about IT vendors, products and implementation strategies are increasingly turning to social media for help. So finds a pair of surveys recently commissioned by LinkedIn, the 187-million member social network for business professionals. Nearly 90 percent of IT decision makers visit a social network at least monthly, according to a report LinkedIn published based on the surveys, which were conducted separately by Forrester and Research Now. The report, ���IT Purchasing Goes Social: How social networks have transformed the B2B purchasing process,��� also states that 85 percent of IT decision-makers use at least one social network for business purposes, while nearly 75 percent have used a social network to engage with an IT vendor. The LinkedIn-sponsored surveys polled 400 North American IT decision makers across a range of industries in 2012. In this case, ���decision makers��� included not only those with formal IT responsibilities, but also business professionals who are involved with IT projects. The latter group accounted for about 30 percent of those surveyed. LinkedIn emerged as a clear leader. The company, based in Mountain View, Calif., was the social network of choice among 95 percent of those surveyed. The main reason is that conversations on LinkedIn are highly relevant to the business needs of its members. As recently as a few years ago, IT professionals used LinkedIn mainly to connect with their peers and subject-matter experts, says Mike Weir, LinkedIn���s Head of Category Development, Technology Industry. But today, both IT and non-IT people are involved in technology decision making. So it helps to have a broad network

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