Here at Cisco we keep a close eye on the evolution of social networking in the enterprise. While many companies are still determining the best ways to leverage these tools, one thing is for sure – social networking will continue to shape the ways in which businesses collaborate and communicate, inside and outside the enterprise.
Today Cisco announced the findings of a study on social networking and its adoption in the enterprise. Based on interviews with more than 100 companies from more than 20 countries, the study explores the primary tools being used, which areas of business are adopting them and how they’re putting them to use, and some of the challenges that are arising.
One of the lead researchers, Neil Hair of the Rochester Institute of Technology, discusses two of the study’s most interesting findings: the proliferation of social media tools to new areas of the business and the growing need for governance models.
Cisco Services SVP Nick Earle also weighs in about the impact he’s seeing social media and collaboration tools have on companies around the world and what businesses can do to better manage them.
Highlights of the study include:
- Of the organizations interviewed, 75 percent identified social networks as the consumer-based social media tools they primarily use, while roughly 50 percent of the group also identified extensive use of microblogging.
- Social networking tools are spreading into core areas of the value chain, including the marketing and communications, human relations, and customer service departments.
- Small and medium-sized businesses are actively using social networking channels to generate leads, but this remains a growth opportunity for larger companies.
- Only one in seven of the companies that participated in the research noted a formal process associated with adopting consumer-based social networking tools for business purposes, indicating that the potential risks associated with these tools in the enterprise are either overlooked or not well understood.
- Only one in five participants identified any policies in place concerning the use of consumer-based social networking technologies in the enterprise.
- Only one in 10 respondents noted direct IT involvement in externally facing social networking initiatives. Although the IT department is typically not involved as a primary decision maker, respondents did recognize the need for these tools to scale and properly integrate with existing business processes to reap maximum benefits.
All of the details on the study are posted on News@Cisco.