CIO Straight Talk - Issue 4 - 12
CIO, McGraw Hill Construction
"I'm not sure blogging is for every CIO, but I
think it's important to ﬁnd . . . what you are
good at and ﬁnd a way to express that."
"But if you're focused on things like innovation and
transformation and moving the business in a different
direction, I think those types of engagements are things
you have to participate in to be successful."
Of course, social media increasingly is the method of
choice for raising your profile. In addition to performing
his duties as CIO, Isaac Sacolick is a prolific blogger and
Twitterer. "I'm not sure blogging is for every CIO," he
says, "but I think it's important to find what's important
to you, what you are good at, and find a way to express
that. In my case I do that through blogging, through the
articles I tweet, or giving public presentations."
Sacolick's social media prowess increases not only his
own visibility but also that of his company, McGraw Hill
Construction. "We are not a technology business," he
explains, "but we sell technology and data to contractors
and manufacturers in the construction industry - they
need to understand that we develop great technology. I
blog, I write articles for our magazine for construction
engineers, I participate in events, I run a council for
construction industry CIOs. Part of my job is to be
customer facing, provide thought leadership, be outgoing
and engaging with our community."
Raising your profile outside your organization can
bolster your position in it. External exposure - through
an active blog or by attracting hundreds of Twitter
followers - can give you newfound credibility internally,
validation in the public forum that will subtly change
people's perception of you in your organization.
Furthermore, it can be easier to gain the support of
those who are skeptical about IT when you meet them
"off-site," on the neutral turf of a social network. "Find
content that's relevant and valuable to a business person
in your company who is negative about IT and share it
with him," Ann Alrich suggests. When you make your
next IT presentation, she notes, that person may be a
proponent instead of an opponent. As more and more
companies infuse information technology into their
product and service offerings, we could expect to see
more blogging CIOs, more visible CIOs. Social media,
however, is not only a platform for creating content
The End of IT Innovation?
Ten years ago, in the aftermath of the technology bubble of the 1990s, IT didn't seem to matter anymore. There was a
widespread reluctance to fall again for the hype and overselling by IT vendors and a movement to contain and
control IT, to focus its role on maintaining an efﬁcient infrastructure. According to this view, innovation - and the
competitive advantage resulting from it - was to be found somewhere else.
Today we can see how wrong that conventional wisdom was. Server virtualization, just one example of the
recent impact of IT innovation, not only has made IT infrastructure much more efﬁcient but also has made it
possible for the IT organization to be ﬂexible and responsive like never before, effectively supporting new strategic
business initiatives. Without virtualization, there would be no cloud computing, yet another signiﬁcant development in IT delivery. Instead of spelling the end of the IT organization, as some predicted only a few years ago, cloud
computing has provided new opportunities for CIOs to manage resources more efﬁciently and has freed up
internal IT resources for more strategic work.
The space where IT innovation has really exploded, however, has been web-native companies, which derive
their competitive advantage from IT. These companies - the likes of Amazon, Google, and Netﬂix - have
demonstrated through their innovative infrastructures and use of IT that IT-spurred disruption and the transformation of entire industries are far from over.
16 CIO Straight Talk