Social Business Is Fast Gaining Ground Across All Industries

The second annual survey from the MIT and Deloitte Social Business Global Executive Study and Research Project found industries across the board reporting that social business has increased in importance.

How fast is social business making inroads into the marketplace? Consider this: in all industries, social business gained in importance — but in some, use of social media more than quadrupled within just one year.

That’s one of the key findings from the second annual survey from the MIT and Deloitte Social Business Global Executive Study and Research Project, which examined how businesses use social media in their organization.

Our annual surveys, conducted in 2011 and 2012, each had responses from more than 2,500 executives, managers and analysts. In all 12 of the major industry sectors covered by our survey, the percentage of respondents who said social software or social business was “important to their organization today” increased from the previous year’s survey. No industry sector declined and none remained flat.

The energy and utilities sector had the biggest year over year increase. In 2011, only 7% of respondents in that industry ranked social business as “important” — a number that jumped to 29.1% in the 2012 survey. Why the dramatic jump in that sector? One possible explanation is the increase in the use of smart grid technologies. More utility companies have been employing that technology to collect social media to better interact and understand customers. A 2012 research report by Navigant Research predicted that by the end of 2017, the number of utility customers using social media to engage with the utility companies would rise from 57 million in 2011 to 624 million.

For the second year in a row, respondents from the technology/media/telecommunications (TMT) sector were most likely to rate social business as important to their organization.In 2012, 87% of TMT respondents said that social business was important or somewhat important to their organizations today.1 Education (82%) and professional services (76%) followed.

Respondent Rankings of Social Business' Importance by Industry

View Exhibit

The survey also found that while companies in most industries are generating social data from their initiatives, few businesses in any industry were analyzing the data or integrating it into their organization’s systems and processes.

The full MIT Sloan Management-Deloitte report with detailed results from the survey as well as summaries and analyses of interviews with 33 business executives and subject matter experts from a number of industries and disciplines will be released in July.