Slow Social Business

While the adoption of enterprise social media continues to grow, these tools continue to be poorly deployed and adopted, to the detriment of all. Executives are not happy, employees are not thrilled and social media owners and managers are frustrated with their internal social business efforts.

Social media tools such as blogs, wikis and other vehicles are present on most corporate intranets: 71% have at least one social media tool available to some or all employees, according to the results of the State of the Social Intranet Study released this month (651 participants, conducted by Prescient Digital Media), but the execution and supporting change management required to make these tools effective is lacking, or absent.

The most common enterprise social media tools are instant messaging, blogs, discussion forums, wikis and user commenting:

  • 76% of organizations have instant messaging
  • 75% of organizations have blogs
  • 70% of organizations have discussion forums
  • 67% of organizations have wikis
  • 67% of organizations have user commenting

However, while many organizations have piloted or trialed, or attempted a wider release of some enterprise social business tools, most tools continue to be isolated and poorly deployed. All too often, free or vanilla solutions -- often the out-of-the-box (OOB) social media solutions that are bundled with CMS or portal solutions, namely SharePoint -- are introduced to employees with little thought for business requirements, user requirements and little or no change management.

Can’t Get Satisfaction

It's little surprise to see that satisfaction levels with enterprise social media tools is at an all-time low. In fact, both employee and executive satisfaction rates on average point to failed enterprise social media programs:

  • 43% of employees rate their internal social media tools as poor or very poor
  • 48% of executives rate their internal social media tools as poor or very poor
  • 19% of organizations rate their overall satisfaction with these tools as good or very good

The results reveal a darker, more pessimistic lining to the social business cause: most organizations are not truly social, just flirting with social. Many are playing with and even finding some success with a smattering of social tools, but using and integrating social media into most aspects of their day-to-day business -- inside and outside the firewall -- is still an evolutionary leap some years away for most. Part of the reason is the lack of money or investment.

Cost of Social Media

Most organizations spend little or nothing on their enterprise social media tools. Many organizations that implement social media tools spend between US$ 0 and $10,000:

  • 47% have spent less than US$ 10,000.
  • 30% have spent between US$10,000 and US$ 99,999.
  • 23% have spent US$ 100,000 or more.

Sometimes, you get what you pay for. A vanilla solution can produce vanilla results or worse, if it is not accompanied by the requisite change management that all social business thrusts require. The notion that “if you build it, they will come” does not work for social business; this isn't baseball and social business is more than setting up a corporate page on Facebook. Enterprise social media tools require marketing, promotion, education and training -- repeated again and again.

Using social business tools represents a mental and cultural evolutionary leap for most. Executives and front-line employees are often heard to say, “I use Facebook, but how does it help me in my work?” Successful integration of social media into the daily operating lives of employees, namely on the corporate intranet, requires careful assessment, planning, governance and the aforementioned change management.

The technology is the easy part; successful social business requires more than a fleeting investment of money, time and process.

Title image courtesy of Festa (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: To read more of Toby's insights into the social enterprise, see his 5 Tips for a Truly Social Business