Monday, June 29, 2009

Enterprises are just beginning to understand the potential of Web 2.0 tools and public and private social networking platforms

[PRNewswire] Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, is pleased to announce the results of its end-user survey, 2009 Corporate Use of Social Networking, an evaluation of how social networking is used in enterprises. The survey presented questions on corporate use of social networking, policies regarding corporate social networking sites, and the utilization of Web 2.0 tools. The survey includes responses from 1,439 participants.

Social networking has increasingly been making itself more visible in the workplace, and its functionality is being harnessed by corporations globally. Web 2.0 technologies are widely in use. A vast majority (80% of survey respondents) report that they personally use Web 2.0 technologies to connect and share with friends and family while at work. More than half of all respondents (54%) reported that they use Web 2.0 technologies for professional purposes such as connecting with colleagues, generating leads, and collaborating on projects.

"However, despite the current hype of social sites such as Facebook and Twitter, social networking platforms are still perceived as being used only for social purposes," explains Vanessa Alvarez, Industry Analyst with Frost & Sullivan's Unified Communications practice. "Enterprises, both big and small, are still just beginning to understand the potential of Web 2.0 tools and public and private social networking platforms. The next level of productivity will occur when enterprises can use these tools to go beyond the social aspect, and harness the unlimited potential of these tools to more effectively manage workflows and drive business."

Social networking sites are the most utilized Web 2.0 tool. Nearly three-fourths of respondents report using social networking sites for personal use within an organization. Besides social networking sites, other tools cited include blogs, wikis, and teamspaces.

When considering usage in the enterprise, medium-sized enterprises (those with 100-999 employees) employ Web 2.0 tools more often than small (1-99 employees) or large (1000+ employees) enterprises, except for teamspaces, which are most utilized by large enterprises.

More executive-level management, or current leaders, avail themselves to Web 2.0 tools than do entry or mid-management employees.

According to the survey, roughly four out of ten organizations formally use social networking/Web 2.0 tools. In most cases, the IT department initiated the program, with the vast majority of the initiatives managed internally.

The majority of respondents also indicated that their organizations have written policies regarding the use and access of social networking sites. Of those individuals working at companies without a written policy, 80% work in organizations that allow access to such sites, despite no formal policies.

Frost & Sullivan's survey goes on to measure the length of time participants have been using corporate social networking, in which roughly one-third of respondents report formal organizational use of social networking/Web 2.0 tools within the past year.

Interestingly, client relations, advertising, marketing, and other business communications are not part of most organizations' use of Web 2.0 tools. The majority of respondents reported that their organizations use Web 2.0 tools primarily for internal use, staff relations, and training.

"Social networking and other Web 2.0 technologies are literally changing the way people think about collaboration, and how willing they are to share information," says Melanie Turek, Industry Principal with Frost & Sullivan's Unified Communications practice. "Organizations have always looked for ways to make their employees more collaborative; today, they need to look for ways to make their collaborative employees more effective."

Corporations Slow to Adopt Social Networking and Web 2.0 Tools, According to Survey by Frost & Sullivan

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