The Gilbane Group has delivered a new report on the use of Social Media in the Enterprise. The report, called Collaboration and Social Media 2008- Taking Stock of Today's Experiences and Tomorrow's Opportunities includes a survey of medium and large American organizations, case studies and a vendor catalog.
What we learn from reading the report is that social media applications are slowly supplementing the existing collaboration technologies -- email, websites and shared workspaces -- within organizations today and that vertical social media solutions are emerging to help them work smarter.
The survey was aimed at marketing executives or their direct reports. Over 286 telephone interviews were completed with organizations that crossed 17 different industries. They chose to interview companies that were fairly large in size – US$ 25 million or more in revenue and over 250 employees – because they believe it’s these organizations who are seeking social media type solutions. Defining Social Media For this report and more importantly for the survey, it was important to define what Social Media actually meant. For Gilbane, the focus was not just on the new tools and technologies that everyone automatically associates with social media and Web 2.0, but also on the tools and technologies that came before Web 2.0 that are still in wide use in organizations today. This list of technologies is displayed in the figure below: Social Media Technologies
Who is Using What and How Effective is It? Gilbane was not surprised to find that many organizations had most of the Web 1.0 technologies firmly in place – Web Conferencing, IM, shared workspaces, enterprise directories. Also not surprising was that Web 2.0 technologies were not as entrenched, but were making ground with innovators and early adopters.
The effectiveness of each technology was a little more interesting, if not predictable.
* Email still scores the highest for effective at 72%
* Websites at 58% effective
* Web Conferencing at 64%
* Social Networking at 59%
* Enterprise Directories at 49%
* Shared Workspaces at 49%
* Mashups at 48%
* Social Bookmarking at 46%
* Online Video at 46%
* IM at 44%
* RSS at 40%
It’s interesting to note that blogs, newsgroups, wikis and podcasts were rated fairly low in effectiveness. Growth Trends Respondents were asked about their plans for adoption of social media in 2008 and most talked about plans for implementing new Web 2.0 technologies such as podcasting, RSS, blogs, wikis, mashups and social bookmarking. Uses of Social Media Technologies This is probably one of the more interesting sections of the survey. It goes through each of the social media technologies and how they are being used today. So if you are one of those organizations that don’t know what to do with the new technology, this section should be of interest to you.
What appears key in the findings is that the Web 2.0 technologies used for Information Sharing such as blogs, wikis, social networking, etc… are not used necessarily for generic information sharing, like the Web 1.0 technologies, but are more focused on specific tasks and activities for business.
The Case Studies
There are 8 case studies that involve the use of vendor solutions such as EMC Documentum’s eRoom, Awareness, Wet Paint, SAP and a few others. Each study discusses the challenge, how it was met and the results that ensued. Lessons learned and Gilbane’s own conclusions complete each case study, thus providing you with information on how you can apply these types of solutions to your own situation.
The Vendor Section is a listing of vendors who offer social media technology. Information provided includes the following:
* Company Background
* Target Markets
* Products and Services
* Contact Information
At best count, 47 vendors are profiled including the likes of NewsGator, Awareness, EMC, Wet Paint, Zoho, Clickability, eTouch, Fatwire, HiveLive, Jive, SocialText and many more.
Charting the Impact of Social Media
The report concludes with Gilbane’s predictions on the future of collaboration and social media across the enterprise. They identify five trends and how these trends are solving business problems. The trends are:
# The growing appetite for innovative technologies
# The focus on vertical solutions
# The restrained role for IT
# The advent of rich media
# The importance of building communities
About the Report
The 130 page Collaboration and Social Media 2008 report is written by Geoffrey Bock Lead Analyst for Collaboration and Steve Paxhia, Director of the Publishing Strategy & Technology Practice at Gilbane. The survey in the report was conducted by Nora Ganin Barnes, Director of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. It was also sponsored by EMC, SAP, Near-Time, Octopz, Awareness, MindTouch, WetPaint, and Zoho.
If you aren’t keen on reading a 130 page report, keep in mind that most important information is contained within the section on the survey which comprises the first 30 pages. Here is where you will get the information you need to understand how these technologies are being used, giving you ideas on how you can implement them in your own organization.
Maybe the most disappointing part of the report is that small companies were not surveyed for the report. While it does make sense that larger organizations do have a great need for collaboration and information sharing, smaller organizations may take more risks and do more innovative things with social media technologies because they are able to implement faster and make changes faster than larger organizations. We may be missing some important aspects of social media use in business by not hearing from this group.
You can download the report for free from Gilbane’s website.
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