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The Executive's Role in Social Business

A majority of respondents to a survey by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte say that their companies' social capabilities are at an early stage of developing social capabilities. For these managers, the top barriers to using social business are a lack of strategy, no business case and a lack of management understanding.

However, executives are increasingly recognizing the value of social business to their organizations. Thirty-five percent of C-suite respondents said social business was important to their organization in the 2012 survey, up from 20% in the 2011 survey. Many C-suite executives also expect social business to grow in importance over time, and a majority believe that social business represents an opportunity to fundamentally change the way work gets done.

The authors explain the importance of three types of senior leadership support for initiatives that rely on social technologies: (1) support for these initiatives over time, not just when they are launched, (2) executives' own use of social technologies as a signal of their importance, and (3) a pragmatic attitude about what to measure and when to measure results from these initiatives.

As marketers capitalize on social tools, the relationship between CMOs and CIOs can change, and some organizations are hiring chief digital officers. The authors observe that successful social business initiatives can produce changes in the way executives work together.

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