Metalogix didn't wasted any time in incorporating the SharePoint governance and administration assets it acquired from Axceler in August into its corporate portfolio. This week, Axceler has rebranded itself and its remaining assets under the umbrella of a new company called View Do Labs, which will focus on offering enterprises governance and analytics across social networks.

Its first offering as a new entity is ViewPoint Enterprise, an analytics application that can be used across a companies’ social collaboration deployments, providing enterprises with a unified view of what’s happening across their social networks.

In this respect, ViewDo specifically mentions Yammer, SharePoint and Chatter as examples of social applications it can be used with, but it will also work with others too.

View Do Labs was formed to continue our mission of providing enterprises with a tailored set of offerings that addresses the current and future state of collaboration... Our team’s goal is to help organizations increase adoption of ESNs by offering visibility into what employees are collaborating on and what platforms are most successful,” Michael Alden, CEO of View Do Labs said.

Benchmarking Enterprise Collaboration

However View Do is not shooting in the dark here. As part of the launch, View Do Labs commissioned a report to see how enterprises are currently using social enterprise collaboration tools.

The report was released originally in July -- a month before Metalogix went shopping Axceler -- and consisted of research carried out across 19 countries with 590 participants in companies of all sizes.

Entitled 2013 Collaboration Benchmark Survey, it showed that while the average organization is using 2 social collaboration tools, just over a third have an enterprise social network (ESN) governance policy in place. Needless to say, it also demonstrated that the bigger the company, the more difficult it is to implement such a policy.

Metalogix Social Enterprise Collaboration tools use.jpg

For those who participate in our regular Tweet Jams, this will be no surprise. In the recent one on information overload and social business, it was clear that, even if it’s happening only slowly, more and more enterprise workers are moving over to social networks to prevent themselves drowning in an inbox of meaningless emails.

One of the Tweet Jams panelists, Bill Cushard at Service Rocket, pointed out that, like many people, he still hasn’t dropped the email habit. “The more I get into the habit of communicating in social tools, the less email I need. But still a habit to build,” he tweeted.

The implied result is an increase in the use of social tools and a move away from email, which another panelist described as “the place all knowledge goes to die.”

Governing Social Enterprise Collaboration

So what’s to stop this from happening with the amount of information passing through social networks and the rise in the use of social networks for collaboration? As in other areas of information management, governing what is happening on those networks is a good starting point, and that’s where View Do Labs comes in.

The survey, which has been just published, throws up some interesting results. We have already seen that if only 34.4% of respondents said they have a collaboration strategy in place, a further 37% said that they had some policies with further development expected as more and more social collaboration takes place.

Leaving aside the 1% of respondents that are living on the edge and say they don’t care about social, or enterprise collaboration, the majority of respondents admitted that collaboration was an intrinsic part of the business culture in the enterprise.

Metalogix Social Enterprise Collaboration Weak Spots.png 

If the development of collaboration governance strategies does take effort and resources, another interesting fact that emerged from the survey is that it is not something that is reserved for large organizations.

In fact, the research shows that the largest number of organizations that have a social enterprise governance strategy falls into the 0 --100 employees range, followed closely by organizations of 5000+ employees. Those in the 501 -- 1000 employees category are more likely to have policies in place, but no formal strategy.

Companies with less than 100 employees were also more likely to have executive control over collaboration with 38.2% of respondents saying that executives are leading the charge when it comes to enterprise collaboration. In companies over 5000, the same figure is only 7%.

If enterprises have been developing email, phone and formal meetings strategies over the years, less work has been done with technology, the report also shows. In fact, when asked about priorities in the collaboration space, 68.5% said that document collaboration is a priority, followed by social collaboration at 58.2%.

Social Enterprise Collaboration Hurdles

However, if this is all quite optimistic, there are a couple of downsides that still need to be addressed by enterprises. One of the things that is really holding back deployment is that a large majority of enterprises say they can’t measure the ROI of social collaboration investments.

Metalogix Social Enterprise Collaboration hurdles.jpg

In all, only 17.9% of those surveyed said that they knew what the financial returns on these investments are, while 46% can’t measure any of the major productivity indicators. From a technology point of view, managing security and permissions is a problem, while providing visibility across the various tools ranges as the biggest challenge.

There is a lot more in this report, but the conclusion is inevitable. While many enterprises have made some progress in developing social enterprise collaboration, there still remains a lot to do for a lot of companies.

This is still only a technology space in its infancy with a lot of growing to do.