2009 saw an explosion of growth in the use of social media by business users. According to Mark R. Gilbert, research vice president at Gartner “A lot has happened in a year within the social software and collaboration space. The growing use of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook by business users has resulted in serious enterprise dialogue about procuring social software platforms for the business. Success in social software and collaboration will be characterized by a concerted and collaborative effort between IT and the business.”
Gartner’s report, “Gartner Reveals Five Social Software Predictions for 2010 and Beyond” makes five predictions about how social networking will transform business in the coming years:
By 2014, social networking services will replace e-mail as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications for 20 percent of business users.
“The rigid distinction between email and social networks will erode. Email will take on many social attributes, such as contact brokering while social networks will develop richer email capabilities,” said Matt Cain, research vice president at Gartner. “While email is already almost fully penetrated in the corporate space, we expect to see steep growth rates for sales of premises- and cloud-based social networking services.”
By 2012, over 50 percent of enterprises will use activity streams that include microblogging, but stand-alone enterprise microblogging will have less than 5 percent penetration.
The huge popularity of the consumer-microblogging service Twitter, has led many organizations to look for an “enterprise Twitter”, that provides microblogging functionality with more control and security features to support internal use between employees. Enterprise users want to use microblogging for many of the same reasons that consumers do to share quick insights, to keep up with what colleagues are doing, to get quick answers to questions and so on.
“However, it will be very difficult for microblogging as a stand-alone function to achieve widespread adoption within the enterprise. Twitter’s scale is one of the reasons for its popularity,” said Jeffrey Mann, research vice president for Gartner. “When limited to a single enterprise, that same scale is unachievable, reducing the number of users who will find it valuable. Mainstream enterprises are unlikely to adopt standalone, single-purpose microblogging products.”
Through 2012, over 70 percent of IT-dominated social media initiatives will fail.
When it comes to collaboration, IT organizations are accustomed to providing a technology platform (such as, email, IM, Web conferencing) rather than delivering a social solution that targets specific business value. Through 2013, IT organizations will struggle with shifting from providing a platform to delivering a solution. This will result in over a 70% failure rate in IT-driven social media initiatives. 50% of business-led social media initiatives will succeed, versus 20% of IT-driven initiatives.
Within five years, 70 percent of collaboration and communications applications designed on PCs will be modeled after user experience lessons from smartphone collaboration applications.
As we move toward three billion phones in the world serving the main purpose of providing communications and collaboration anytime anywhere, Gartner expects more end-users to spend significant time experiencing the collaborative tools on these devices. For some of the world, these will be the first or the only applications they use. The experience with these tools for all who use them will enable the user to handle far more conversations within a given amount of time than their PCs simply because they are easier to use.
Just as the iPhone impacted user interface design on the desktop, the lessons in the mobile phone collaboration space will dramatically affect PC applications, many of which are derivatives of decades-old platforms based on the PBX or other older collaboration paradigm.
Through 2015, only 25 percent of enterprises will routinely utilize social network analysis to improve performance and productivity.
Social network analysis is a useful methodology for examining the interaction patterns and information flows that occur among the people and groups in an organization, as well as among business partners and customers. However, when surveys are used for data collection, users may be reluctant to provide accurate responses. When automated tools perform the analysis, users may resent knowing that software is analyzing their behavior. For these reasons, social network analysis will remain an untapped source of insight in most organizations.
You can read more about the report here.