Four Feral Job Titles for the Well-Branded IT Organization

During the halcyon days of Fast Company magazine (remember those?) there was a regular column titled “Job Titles We Love.” I’ve used that column over the years as a model for identifying titles, whether real or invented, that my businesses and consulting clients should consider to build their personal and organizational brands. The goal is to actively promote these talent sets to establish internal and external competitive advantage.

Based on my love for this column, here are four feral positions I feel every IT organization should consider as they build their brand.

These need not be new hires, since some existing staff may already have these double-deep skills. Or they could be combined and built into a job description for a new hire. They could simply be baked-in to the existing organizational culture. The importance is more on the skills that the title they represent.

“Skeptic-in-Chief”

One of my all-time favorites was the position of “Corporate Skeptic” or “Skeptic in Chief” at animated movie company Pixar. Essentially the position focused on aligning animated content with the reaction of the audience. The Corporate Skeptic would preview the animation and cast doubt whether it was believable even in the world of computer generated graphics and characters.

While I’m not suggesting that every IT organization (or enterprise in general) hire a corporate skeptic, I am recommending that this “position” be built into every member of the IT organization. This is much different than being an agility-killing speedbump for initiatives driven by the businesses. There is already no shortage of “slow and NO” stereotypes in enterprise IT.

The culture of skepticism would largely be focused on analyzing whether IT’s work will be perceived as credible and adding value to the enterprise. The position requires even the most benign project or deliverable goes though the skepticism process so as to prepare for every possible reaction by the internal or external customer. Finding contrarians is easy, finding a creative skeptic who focuses on feral aspects of business takes work.

Manager of IT Marcomm

There is an old adage that “if you don’t brand yourself, your competitors will do it for you.”

I’ve written in numerous columns about the need for a formalized communications position within the IT organization that would be responsible for promoting the “brand called IT” internally. I’ve suggested that IT must play the same game as the business and embed “shadow marketing” into enterprise IT. I’ve been noticing that this is starting to happen largely as a result of the need for IT to promote its relevance in projects where the business may show as much technical savvy as the technologists.

This Manager of IT Marcomm reports to the CIO and is the steward for the enterprise IT brand. As such, s(he) is responsible for socializing proof points related to relevance and contemporary thinking to headquarters and the businesses. This is done through traditional channels, but more recently by using social media and corporate social enterprise platforms like Chatter and Yammer.

Data Storyteller

 In a previous columns I wrote about “datanoia” and how many business unit leaders are students of Simon and Garfunkel’s famous lyric that “a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”

Petabytes of data that cost millions of dollars to gather and produce are going useless simply because it can’t be translated into usable stories customized for the content consumption and digestion patterns of a broad range of constituents.

While this role has elements of data visualization, it is a unique aggregated skill set that combines the talents of the technical writer, the marketer, the data scientist, and for lack of a better description, the data novelist.

Digital Business Relationship Manager (DBRM)

The Business Relationship Management (BRM) title has been around for decades and has established itself on thousands of business cards carried by members of corporate IT organizations. This is typically the go-between responsible for keeping the internal client happy and serving as the embodiment of future thinking in the eyes of the business.

Unfortunately the business has an increasing institutional paranoia about how proficient enterprise IT is on issues related to digital strategy. Add to this the fact that some CEOs are succumbing to the trendy “Chief Digital Officer” approach that furthers distances IT from a digital leadership role.

The Digital Business Relationship Manager is the personification of IT’s brand relevance and innovation to the businesses on digital deployments. Using multi-channel communications deliverables created by the new Manager of IT Marcomm, the DBRM serves to create skepticism that a Chief Digital Officer is needed, or that all things digital should reside in marketing.

What trendy new titles do you have in your IT organization that position you on the bleeding edge of innovation and relationship management?

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  1. […] job title was made famous by Pixar, which hired skeptics to help them avoid making animation projects so phony that even movie goers expecting fantasy would […]

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