How customers connect the CIO with the PR

The chief information officer is a futurologist, a far-sighted visionary with the insight to make the enterprise fit for purpose in the digital economy and a strategist, evangelist and teacher who knows how to harness emerging technology today, for a very different tomorrow.

All hail the power of the CIO, writes Ian McVey
All hail the power of the CIO, writes Ian McVey
But a conviction for innovation often has to battle ‘business as usual’, which resists change. 

Tech teams see the benefits of software that encourages a collaborative workplace and improves productivity, but to what end if IT ‘refuseniks’ ignore them?

That said, CIOs are as likely to resist change as to encourage it. One day they argue for more cash at the board, the next they have to temper ‘management by inflight magazine’, dissuading CEOs from implementing the latest fad.

CIOs who find the time to reach out inspire not only their tech teams but their management and employees too. 

Communicative CIOs help enterprise engage with news flow that scrutinises the organisation’s innovation, insight, customer service and ability to harness and not to be disrupted by tech. 

As every firm becomes a tech firm, CIOs who bring tech into the mainstream iron out resistance.
So how does the CIO ring the changes? 

A symbiotic collaboration exists with the PR/internal comms team. Their objectives, after all, are complementary. 

PRs chase CIOs for content and opinion for the media. CIOs should turn to them for help in accessing the wider company. 

PRs need insight; CIOs need the platform on which to address colleagues.

Conversations should centre around the customer, because the challenge facing PR is proving to journalists that enterprise understand its customers.  

PRs often lack the scientific evidence, research and data to prove that strategy is married to customer insight; that rigorous feedback drives key decisions with data, not guesswork. 

If a PR can tell journalists that 84 per cent of the customer base reads their newspapers and why, the journalist will pay attention.

The CIO with the software that achieves that insight, and shows the PR how to use it in real time, is the PR’s best friend. 

What works for the consumer works for the employee, because sophisticated survey software is equally efficient in surveying both, and as valuable to the internal comms teams as to the PR.

In return, comms can smooth the path for CIO engagement to colleagues, breaking down silos by explaining the rationale and benefits of technology, championing change in workplace culture and the role of software and automation in improving transparency.

Comms can inform this campaign with a scientific approach, using software to research what employees know about the company’s tech strategy, asking how they think it impacts them, what training they would like to join in the revolution and what ideas they would like to share.

Customer insight increasingly drives corporate strategy.  

By converting ‘big’ data into fast and focused data, companies can make critical decisions. 

This data is gold dust to all those who know how to bring it to life, and you won't find a more effective team than the CIO and comms to do so.  

Ian McVey is the UK manager of Qualtrics

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