An international study to explore the business impact of social media and Web 2.0 applications in the enterprise has revealed the need for stronger governance and IT involvement.
The research, commissioned by Cisco, was carried out by IESE, the E. Philip Saunders College of Business of the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, and Henley Business School in the United Kingdom. It was based on in-depth interviews with 105 participants representing 97 organizations in 20 countries. The purpose of the study was to better understand how organizations use social media and Web 2.0 tools to collaborate externally.
Social media and Web 2.0 tools are fast bringing technology and business together. Companies are discovering that new, innovative collaboration platforms can help to connect their business with the outside world. By delivering dynamic experiences and the right information that consumers demand, firms are able to establish new routes to market and enhance customer intimacy and brand awareness.
Of the organizations interviewed, 75 percent identified social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, as the primary consumer-based social media tools used by their organization, while roughly 50 percent also used blogging.
Social media tools are spreading into core areas of the value chain, including marketing and communications, HR and customer service departments. Within marketing and communications, these tools have already become an integral part of organizations' initiatives, as they have understood and acted upon the shift from "broadcast" to "conversational" communications, or rich interactions.
Though some small and medium businesses are actively using social networking channels for lead generation, generally it is larger companies that are making the most of these growth opportunities.
Despite the uptake, the study reveals that the business world is only at the early stages of adopting these tools. Moreover, there is a serious lack of governance and IT involvement, which may impact the successful integration and adoption of these new platforms and technologies.