Social Business Matters Today — and Will Matter Even More Tomorrow
A majority of respondents (52%) to our survey believe that social business is important or somewhat important to their business today. Fully 86% of managers believe social business will be important or somewhat important in three years. Social business is viewed most often as a tool for external-facing activities.
- Survey respondents say marketing, sales and customer service are most responsible for driving social software use in their organizations.
- On average, respondents say the most important use of social software is for managing customer relationships.
- The second most important use of social software is to innovate for competitive differentiation.
Key takeaways: Managers surveyed believe that social software will become increasingly important to their organizations during the next few years. Although most managers continue to view social software as an externally facing activity, its relevance to innovation is also being recognized.
Some Leaders Are Enthusiastic, but Lack Metrics to Prove Value
Most respondents to our survey believe that successful social business activities require leadership but acknowledge that their organizations are not measuring social software use.
- In our survey, leadership and a clear vision are cited most frequently as critical to adoption of social software. Lack of management support is cited most frequently as the biggest barrier to adoption.
- At the same time, the most common answer to the question, “How do you measure social software use?” is: Do Not Measure.
- Leaders most responsible for the strategic direction of an organization — CEOs, presidents and managing directors — are almost twice as likely as CIOs and CFOs to say that social business is important to their organization.
Key takeaways: Social business depends on leadership. Metrics may not be critical when companies are experimenting with using social software, but as social software use becomes more important to an organization, having metrics in place can help managers assess, encourage and reward related behaviors. These metrics may be even more important in organizations that need to shift their cultures to be more compatible with social business. In addition, while the survey results indicate that social business depends on leadership, our interviews indicate that leadership can be improved with social business. CEOs may recognize this more than other members of the C-suite.
Respondents from small and large companies say social business is important to their organization at twice the rate of managers from midsize companies.