Jive Software (news, site) recently had a survey conducted with their customers looking at the benefits of social business adoption, and guess what, the results are encouraging.

Putting it in Perspective

Before we go further let's put this all into perspective. This survey, conducted by an independent research firm, was done with Jive customers in December of last year. 500 participants from 300 organizations responded. A large percentage of the responding organizations had over 10,000 employees.

The purpose of the survey? To see if implementing social business software had any affect on key business processes.

The Key Findings

Jive indicated three key findings based on the results of the survey:

  1. Social Business drives breakthrough results across employee, customer and social web audiences
  2. Social Business Software adoption is pervasive with over 83% implementing enterprise wide social business initiatives
  3. Social Business is mission critical and it requires a tight partnership between business and IT


There is a lot more to the survey than what I've listed above, but you get the general idea (get Jive's whitepaper for a full look at the results).

The Key is Proper Planning & Implementation

You look at a survey like this and the results can make you giddy with anticipation. Let's rush out, buy some social software, get it up and running and BAM!, the benefits roll in. Unfortunately, it's just not that easy.

It's not even a matter of buying a particular vendor solution. Whether you implement Jive's SBS or another solution (and this is where I could name any number of quality solutions), you still need to think about what you are trying to achieve, who you are going to involve and what you hope the outcome will be.

Should you implement across the enterprise off the bat? Or run a pilot program? (see Enterprise Collaboration: Pilot Project or All In?). Should you focus on your internal environment first, figure out how it all works, and look for your employees forgiveness when you take a wrong turn, or should you use for your external customers right away, aiming for a market that is demanding many of the capabilities that social software brings?

Back in August I wrote the article Enterprise 2.0: All Social Software is Not Created Equal. In it, I talked about how the consumer web is driving much of the capabilities that we are seeing come into the enterprise. The difference is it's flavored with thoughts of compliance, regulations, deployments models and more. We also talked about how it's not as easy to get employees to adopt these tools as we would like.

So here we are almost six months later and we are seeing surveys and other whitepapers that say this stuff works. I don't argue that it's true, I doubt organizations would lie. But I think somewhere in the midst of saying we derived these benefits of cost reduction, productivity improvements, etc.. we aren't seeing or hearing the bigger picture.

Implementing new technology is never smooth, and new/adapted business processes even less so. What got an organization to the point that they could reduce costs? How did they get employees to participate? To stop using email? To pay attention to and act on social media monitoring? To share their knowledge?

These are the things I'd like to see more of, read more of and write more about. Sometimes the bumpiest ride is the one that gives us the most information.