May 23 2014   8:07PM GMT

Going digital? Be bold, be agile and silence social networking silos

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales

Chief Digital Officer
CIO leadership
Digital disruption
Social networking

Digital technology is rapidly evolving — how will enterprises ever catch up? And who should lead the charge? Those were the top-of-mind questions for every IT executive who attended the 11th MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, this week’s Searchlight headliner.

Luckily, as was evident from the variety of digital advice-filled sessions to choose from, there are many points of entry in the quest for digital transformation. The first step: Be fearless. Just take panelist Tanya Cordrey’s word for it: The chief digital officer at Guardian News and Media led The Guardian‘s major global domain change and expanded the media property’s global audience to 84 million unique visitors, among other successes. The key, she said, is to play the role of “digital facilitator” and encourage the rest of the company to be a “courageous” news organization.

Her fellow panelists — which included MIT CIO Leadership award-winner Thaddeus Arroyo, CIO of AT&T; Robert Tas, CMO of Pegasystems; and George Westerman, research scientist at MIT’s Center for Digital Business — were in accord: Go digital (to keep up with an increasingly connected customer base) or go home.

Another factor for digitally evolving enterprises — particularly those with legacy systems — to consider: smart, interconnected devices. At ZDNet, HP’s Oliver Marks wrote this week about “the end of social,” or the idea that social networking silos will become extinct as organizations keep up with newer systems of engagement and become more digitally focused on the consumer. Today’s customers prize the ease of use and speed of their digital experience (points brought up at the aforementioned MIT session, by the way), and this spells integration problems for companies with older systems. “This [integration] is the goal of overarching digital enterprise transformation efforts which seek to create coherence of collaboration and interactions across companies,” Marks writes, urging organizations to leave old ways of “social business” thinking and focus on becoming more flexible and agile to be able to keep up.

In other tech news: Yes, another breach (sigh), this time of eBay’s database; Martha Stewart provides drone use-case tips from personal experience; a double-amputee calf gets fitted with high-tech prosthetics; and more.

Get up to speed on recent tech happenings in this week’s Searchlight!

calf, baby cow, wikimedia, image

“I’m a happy camper!” [Source: Aconcagua/Wikimedia Commons]

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