Results from a recent market study show that this inherent need is also creating the opportunity for social technologies to help support and add value to the commercial innovation process.
The fourth annual "Social Business Survey" from International Data Corporation (IDC) revealed a significant departure from previous years -- in terms of focus and use cases for social business technology.
With the maturing of social media tools within the enterprise -- and their adoption as an engagement channel -- use cases have grown into some broad categories, such as customer experience, sales enablement, digital commerce, enterprise social network (ESN), innovation management, and socialytics.
IDC says that as users request solutions to extend outside the firewall, the 2012 survey demonstrates that security (84%) and privacy (81%) are the top two important functionality identified by companies.
"As enterprise social software grows into enterprise social networks (ESNs), solution functionalities like profiles, activity streams, and blogs have quickly become assumed," says Vanessa Thompson, research manager for the IDC enterprise social networks and collaborative technologies group.
IDC believes that the marked shift in the buying behavior of solutions in 2012 highlights the need for meaningful solutions to extend outside the company firewall and include customers, partners, and suppliers in the feedback and business workflow processes.
Additional findings from the IDC market study include:
- In 2012, 67% of companies surveyed have deployed corporate-sponsored enterprise social software, noting that the level of autonomy an employee has on how they manage individual task and business workflow has increased.
- In 2011, the top response to why organizations were using social media, networking, or community initiatives for business purposes was to acquire knowledge and ask questions. This dropped dramatically in 2012, replaced with the notion of customer feedback and engaging all constituents into the feedback process to support and add value to the innovation process.
- Survey respondents highlighted competitive pricing (87%), minimal performance downtime and latency (85%), and meeting expectations with regard to solution updates or upgrades (85%) to be the most important characteristics of solutions.
IDC polled 700 senior executive-level decision makers in the United States, on their current and future technology and business plans, perceptions, and experiences related to the use of social media or social networking for business purposes and corporate sponsored enterprise social software applications.