Why Technology Professionals Can’t Afford to Ignore Social & Mobile

Recently, I overheard a conversation in an elevator on the way to a meeting: two guys were laughing about their kids and their foolish social media usage. When I arrived at my meeting, one of attendees was talking about how he had just recently succumbed to peer pressure and upgraded to a smart phone. All three folks are decision makers in IT. Sadly, this small sample is typical: People who work in technology are fairly well-represented among those I know who identify as luddites.

If you haven’t noticed, the technology landscape is changing. So, how do people who work in technology or for technology companies expect to meet the needs of their customers and users if they don’t have first-hand understanding of how their customers expect to work?

Consider that the IT decision makers tend to be especially guilty:

  • Only about 10% of CIOs actively use one of the “Big 3” public social media networks (perhaps the other 90% are on SnapChat?)
  • As age and income increase, social media & smart-phone use goes down.
  • Men use these tools less than women. CIOs tend to be older, affluent, males.

Some older IT workers feel they are being bypassed or pushed out because of their age. There was a time when people who worked in IT could be reliably looked to for the latest in gadgets and tech trends. But knowing the latest version of Windows is no longer sufficient for being up-to-date. My “blogeague” Curlis Phillip recently wrote about how important mobile skills are; here, we are talking about lacking basic familiarity with the technology.

So what does actively using social & mobile “buy” the technology professional?

1) Better understanding of how people expect to work and collaborate now

2) Greater insight into the data and security issues, i.e. understanding why the IT holy grail of locking down the desktop is now more fantasy than ever.

3) Higher credibility with others – if you aren’t using these tools, you are making a statement about their lack of value and your own attitude about new technology.

No worries though. If you are in technology and need an excuse to learn to use these powerful tools, you may soon have the opportunity to do that as part of your job search.

Have you encountered leaders in technology who weren’t proficient in mobile and social media? Could increasing your use of technology give you a better understanding of your customers and improve YOUR street cred?
Jason Druebert Consulting Solutions Senior IT Service Management Consultant AT&T About Jason