Social Business Update
More enterprises doing it, and doing more of it. But it's still not clear how well social is achieving its goals.
The track that I lead at Interop, which is variously called Communications, Unified Communications, or, this year, Collaboration, has tended to focus on much the same area as Enterprise Connect does--a lot of UC, some SIP, various interoperability challenges (the show is called Interop, after all), and the rest of the mainstream issues that IT folks with voice/video responsibilities have to deal with. At the recent Interop New York event, Marty Parker's and Russell Bennett's session on UC interoperability drew very well, as did Terry Slattery's talk on the impact of video traffic on your corporate network.
One topic that is usually a smaller part of both Interop and Enterprise Connect wound up being the subject of a few interesting conversations I had, as well as a really great presentation by Johna Till Johnson, the CEO of Nemertes Resarch--social business.
The great thing about Nemertes numbers is that they're drawn from studies of enterprise clients--so this is a great window into what companies are actually doing right now. Among the data that Johna presented on Social:
* Budgets for social software are up in 56.5% of enterprises in the benchmark study, and flat for 39.1%. The median increase for those reporting an increase was 10%.
* Dedicated social teams are now the largest single class of business group holding budget responsibility for social software, at 17.6% of the total. Marketing, which had been the largest group holding budget responsibility for social, fell from 18% of the total last year to just 8.8% this year. By far the largest group here is "Other," at 44.1%, indicating there's still a lot of fragmentation regarding who's responsible for social software--but it's starting to come into its own as an independent group.
* 56.8% of enterprises surveyed have selected a social software platform, and of these, Microsoft SharePoint is by far the leader, with 43%, followed by Newsgator at 13%; Jive and IBM Connections tied at 9%; Yammer and Cisco Quad (now dubbed WebEx Social) tied at 4%; and 18% Other/Multiple.
* The overwhelming majority--71.1%--cited "Improved Collaboration" as their number-one driver for implementing social software. The next-highest reason was "C-level-driven," named by 18.4% as the top driver. Notably, only 2.6% said the move to social software was driven by a "tangible business case."
Another interesting point that Johna added, but didn't quantify from the benchmark survey, was that, when Nemertes asked about "Internal self-rated success of the social business initiative," they found that quite a few enterprises said their initiatives were, in fact, unsuccessful.
Overall, this strikes me as likely a very accurate snapshot of social business today: The majority of enterprises are doing it, and doing more of it this year than last, mostly out of a desire to give employees tools to collaborate better. And yet there's still not a strong sense of whose job it should be to specify, procure, and cost-justify such a move.