Despite the immediacy of the opportunity, the socially connected enterprise is emerging slowly. To assess that emergence, we asked respondents to evaluate their organization’s social business maturity along a scale of 1 to 10. Specifically, we asked: “Imagine an organization transformed by social tools that drive collaboration and information sharing across the enterprise and integrate social data into operational processes. How close is your company to achieving this ideal?” (See Figure 3.)
We asked respondents to imagine an organization transformed by social tools that drive collaboration and information sharing across the enterprise and that integrate social data into operational processes. Their responses reflect how close they believe their organizations are to that ideal.
More than half of the respondents — 52% — rated their organization at 3 or less. A scant 17% assessed their company at 7 and above. Moreover, in many organizations, social business is still an experiment: 44% of respondents indicated they are implementing an initiative in their departments, but more than half of these are pilot projects.
Dion Hinchcliffe of the Dachis Group describes “a trough of disillusionment” that businesses encountered with social media.8 He argues that social media was not originally intended for business use. It was created primarily by consumer companies looking for ways to better connect people. As a result, social media tools lacked the security, compliance and control capabilities businesses need. But the landscape is starting to change. “These requirements have made their way into the tools only in the past few years,” he says. “We are now at the point where the tools are starting to meet business needs.”
The point is well taken. However, our study discovered that there are statistically significant markers of success — and barriers to it.9 These markers correlate with social business maturity and go well beyond the business readiness of any technology. (See Figure 4.) For example, companies that are moving closer to the ideal of a socially networked organization share distinct characteristics. One significant characteristic is the integration of social into many business functions, including marketing, sales, IT and customer service. At Enterasys Networks, a mid-size network infrastructure and security company, 100% of employees have access to Salesforce.com’s Chatter product, and 80% use it to collaborate, share, and work across organizational boundaries and functions.