Student news

Date published: 28 July 2010

Michelle Beveridge, at CIO Summit

Michelle Beveridge, OUA's new General Manager Operations, joined a prestigious panel of Australian Chief Information Officers (CIO's) at the Annual CIO Summit last week to discuss the role of social media in business.

Michelle joined Foxtel CIO Robyn Elliot, the Office of State Revenue CIO David Kennedy and CIO Executive Council general manager Caroline Bucknell on the panel at the 2010 summit which showcased new business IT strategies.

The panel agreed that developing a social media policy for workplaces, including the use of sites like Twitter, is important for businesses and should involves managers across the organisation - not just IT.

Michelle said that it is particularly important for an online business like OUA to actively communicate with customers through social media and outlined that Open Universities Australia has adopted a social media policy.

"OUA has a policy around social media and we have a broad range of people that are involved with us. This policy focuses on our connections with customers as well as an employee point of view," Michelle told attendees at the summit.

Robyn Elliot said that people were likely to already be talking about your company on social media sites, raising issues that the business should respond to.

"Search for your organisation on Twitter and see what's going on. You should pick up patterns from this and take action and fix those problems. People are talking about it for a reason," Ms Elliot said.

While everyone on the panel recognised the positives of using social media, they also acknowledged that there were risks and the potential to damage a business' reputation if it was not well understood and used.

Michelle advised that concerns around risk should not prevent organisations from using increasingly popular social media channels as risks could be managed by ensuring staff understand their role when they are representing the business.

"It's not the tool that's creating the issue, it's a management issue. It's about managing the people not the tool," Michelle said.

David Kennedy said social media is one of the many communication channels used by the Office of State Revenue and that people needed to understand their responsibilities in the channel or they constituted a risk.

More than 200 CIOs from across Australia attended this year's CIO Summit in Sydney.