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CIO as Chief Collaborator?

by Dave Hannon

October 12, 2010

By Dave Hannon

You’ve heard it a thousand times—the biggest challenge for businesses to overcome is lack of communication between silos. Silo A doesn’t know what Silo B is up to, never mind how they can help them.

There’s a lot of effort lately at developing strategies to drive collaboration across the business. The cross-functional team or council strategy is certainly among the most popular today and the most effective. But there’s more rumblings of creating a C-level position to drive that all-important collaboration. And who would be the best candidate?

Well, the chief INFORMATION officer is a likely candidate. Here, this blog on the Harvard Business Review site puts the CIO as one of the top five candidates for chief collaboration officer. (The comments on that blog post, by the way, may shed more light on the topic than the post itself.)

The CIO makes an obvious choice for two reasons: first, the IT organization in most companies touches and interacts with every other organization. And secondly, the job of IT, when you really think about it, is to help the company share information. From SharePoint to Skype to LinkedIn, it’s pretty clear that IT is the answer to collaboration stagnation on the business world.

But some changes in your company’s org chart can help IT facilitate more collaboration. Dedicating IT workers to serve as “account managers” for internal business units is one option. Getting IT invited to more cross-functional team meetings is another.

A ny other tips out there on how IT can increase its value by driving collaboration across the enterprise?

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