According to Forrester Research, the market opportunity for social enterprise apps is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through 2016. So IBM made some calls--1,160 to be exact--to business and IT professionals to find out how their businesses were adopting, and adapting to, the social side of business.
IBM found that across the board, companies are increasing their social technology investments, although it seems the reasons why remain a little foggy.
The survey revealed that while 46 percent of the organizations questioned increased their investments in social technologies in 2012, only 22 percent believed that managers are prepared to incorporate social tools and approaches into their daily practices.
Two-thirds of respondents admitted they were not sure they sufficiently understood the impact social technologies would have on their organizations over the next three years.
"Businesses are struggling to make sense of the vast amount of data generated from social networks," said Kevin Custis, vice president and global leader social business and mobility services at IBM Global Business Services. "To transform a vision into a reality, executive leadership must guide middle management on the value of being a social business, and build companywide support for the use of social practices across organizational functions."
As a result of the survey, IBM created a report, entitled The Business of Social Business: What Works and How It's Done, that looks at companies that are doing more than developing a presence on major social platforms. The report finds that to have a successful social business, social technologies must be embedded into core business processes, and then those technologies have to be applied to drive customer-facing activities such as lead generation, and sales and post-sales service.
The IBM report concludes that some basic groundwork must be laid for organizations to evolve into social [businesses]. At the most basic level, management must provide an infrastructure for engagement, such as setting up forums and collaborative spaces, and then those social practices must be integrated into day-to-day work activities. For example, encourage employees to use blog posts and activity streams to manage projects.