Global Survey: Is Enterprise Social Collaboration Living Up to its Promise?


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It’s clear that social technologies play a key role in facilitating collaboration. To better understand the scope and nature of the changes in the market, Avanade conducted a global research study in April 2013, interviewing 1,000 business and IT leaders and 4,000 employees about the impact of social technologies on enterprise collaboration. Overall, research results showed a large, as-yet-unmet opportunity to fully adopt and leverage social technologies for collaboration at work.

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  • Absolutely! Successful technology implementations come when people, processes AND tech are aligned. It can't just be about deploying tools and hoping people will use them. Companies who are successful with social collaboration design with the user and business goals in mind.
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  • The key learning out of all of this is captured in your summary -- the secret to success is not about technology at all, but in close alignment of technology to business goals. If these tools are not allowing your teams to communicate better, be more agile, get more work completed -- then you should not pursue the technology.
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Global Survey: Is Enterprise Social Collaboration Living Up to its Promise?

  1. 1. Global Survey:Is enterprisesocialcollaborationliving up toits promise?May 2013 | Avanade
  2. 2. 2Across the board, ITand businessdecision-makers,along with endusers, report positiveoutcomes from theiruse of socialcollaborationtechnologies in theenterprise.Executive SummaryWe work in a constantly changing, evermobile work environment, whichembraces new technologies, policies,stakeholders and physical work spaces.This new way of working demands amore collaborative approach to business.Companies are redesigning long-standingprocesses to adapt to this shift.It’s clear that social technologies play akey role in facilitating collaboration. Tobetter understand the scope and natureof the changes in the market, Avanadeconducted a global research study in April2013, interviewing 1,000 business and ITleaders and 4,000 employees about theimpact of social technologies onenterprise collaboration.Overall, research results showed a large,as-yet-unmet opportunity to fully adoptand leverage social technologies forcollaboration at work. Currently themajority of IT decision-makers (87%),business leaders (67%) and end users(68%) report using enterprise socialnetworking technologies, but most lacktrue enterprise collaboration capabilities.Interestingly, decision-makers reported ameasurable desire to move – in the next12 months – from more consumer-driventechnologies (e.g. Facebook and Twitter)to enterprise-ready collaboration toolssuch as Microsoft SharePoint andSalesforce Chatter.Key findings revealed by the researchstudy include: Social collaboration is on thecorporate agenda and the rateof new technology adoption ison the rise. [Skip to section] Business and IT decision-makers have a false sense ofaccomplishment when itcomes to social collaboration.[Skip to section] Companies have a polarizedview of social collaboration.Alongside a majority of eageradopters, a healthy minority ofbusiness leaders is skepticalabout the real value of socialcollaboration tools. [Skip tosection] There is significantopportunity in this emergingmarket. More businesses planto adopt social tools forenterprise collaboration in thenext 12 months. [Skip tosection]In a separate “Work Redesigned” surveyconducted in January 2013, Avanadefound that companies are 73 percentmore likely to report improved sales andnew customer acquisition through the useof their collaboration tools than othercompanies. And, the consumerization ofIT has raised the expectation ofemployees about which socialtechnologies they can use to connect andcollaborate both inside and outside of theorganization.Executive SummarySocial Collaboration
  3. 3. 3 The most widely used socialtechnology for collaborationafter Facebook? Twitter (51percent). Consumer-driven socialtechnologies includingFacebook and Twitter lackenterprise collaborationcapabilities such as documentstorage, the ability to sharebest practices across teams;sharing and group editing;deep search of knowledge andexperience within anenterprise; and integrationwith enterprisecommunications systems.Clearly a large majority of both decision-makers and end users believe they areusing social technologies to enableenterprise social collaboration. But arethey really? When asked which platformsare being used for collaborativepurposes, the respondents revealed thatthey are adopting popular social networkssuch as Facebook and Twitter, andBusiness and IT leaders are deeplyinterested in how social collaborationtechnologies can encourage bettercollaboration in the workplace, but what isthe reality today? How are globalbusinesses embracing new socialcollaboration tools? What impact arethese tools having on traditional businessprocesses? What results are companiesseeing?The following report offers a full look atfindings from the most recent survey, aswell as supporting data and Avanade’spoint of view on the results.Social collaboration is on thecorporate agenda 77 percent of business and ITleaders say their companiesare currently using socialcollaboration technologies. 82 percent of businessescurrently using socialcollaboration tools want touse more of them in thefuture.Avanade’s most recent large-scale surveyon social collaboration in the enterprisereveals that the overall rate of newtechnology adoption at companies isincreasing, and the consumerization of ITplays a huge role in driving perceptionsabout social collaboration.An overwhelming majority of businessand IT decision-makers (96 percent)report the rate of new technologyadoption at their companies is increasingor staying the same. In fact, only fourpercent report a decrease in the rate ofadoption. And the vast majority of ITdecision-makers (87 percent), businessleaders (67 percent) and end users (68percent) report using enterprise socialnetworking technologies successfully atwork.Avanade defines enterprise socialcollaboration as processes and tools thatcan power today’s mobile, dispersed andnetworked way of getting work done. Itmakes it easier for employees to stayconnected, work better in teams, speedthe flow of information and get more workdone. This survey evaluated attitudes andadoption of social networking andcollaboration technologies as a keyenabler of social collaboration.Business leaders have a falsesense of accomplishment insocial collaboration Those who have adoptedsocial networkingtechnologies reported usingFacebook (74 percent) forcollaboration at twice the rateof Microsoft SharePoint (39percent), four times that ofIBM Open Connections (17percent), and six times that ofSalesforce Chatter (12percent).Executive SummarySocial Collaboration
  4. 4. 4Executive SummarySocial Collaborationhoping they enable social collaborationamong employees. In fact, the only socialplatforms being used by more than half ofthe respondents were Facebook andTwitter. Decision-makers in particularappear to have a false sense ofaccomplishment when it comes to socialcollaboration. Those who have deployedsocial networking technologies reportedusing Facebook (74 percent) forcollaboration at nearly twice the rate ofMicrosoft SharePoint (39 percent), fourtimes that of IBM Open Connections (17percent), and six times that of SalesforceChatter (12 percent).The truth is that there is a stark differencebetween consumer social networks andwhat’s needed for enterprise socialcollaboration. Business and IT decision-makers believe they are enablingcollaboration with social technologies, butthe social technologies they report usingmost fall short in important areas neededfor a business to effectively collaborate.Eager adopters and socialskeptics offer polarizing viewsof social collaboration Eager adopters are leveragingsocial technologies at work –approximately eight in 10decision-makers (77 percent)and seven in 10 end users (68percent) report usingenterprise social networkingtechnologies. The social skeptics fall on theother end of the spectrum –one in five business and ITdecision-makers (23 percent)have not adopted socialcollaboration tools in theenterprise. And of thosedecision-makers who haveadopted, one-quarter (24percent) believe their socialcollaboration tools waste timeor distract employees fromtheir core jobs.While time-savings and productivity areamong top benefits of these toolsreported by users, the top benefit acrossdecision-makers and employees is muchsofter: more enjoyable jobs.So whose view is most valid? Those whoembrace social networking as anautomatic enabler of enterprisecollaboration, or those who ignore andreject the same social tools as time-wasters? Data shows the businessbenefits outweigh challenges.Across the board, IT and businessdecision-makers, along with end users,report positive outcomes from their use ofsocial collaboration technologies in theenterprise. These benefits come down tospeed, productivity and happiness, butthe ranking changes depending on whoyou ask.Of IT leaders, business leaders andemployees, IT leaders report the greatestbenefits from the use of socialtechnologies. The 500 IT decision-makerssurveyed claim the leading impact ofthese social technologies is to makeemployees’ jobs more enjoyable (66percent). Closely following that benefit,they report employees are moreproductive (62 percent) and able to getwork done faster (57 percent).While the top benefit reported by thesedecision-makers is the overall happinessof employees, what’s interesting is thatend users rank speed (55 percent) andproductivity (54 percent) ahead ofhappiness (51 percent). IT leaders assignhappiness to employees at a higher ratethan employees themselves arereporting.Beyond speed, productivity andhappiness, IT and business decision-makers say the use of enterprisecollaboration tools allow their employeesto generate ideas collaborativelyWith all the positive perceptions aboutpopular social networking technologies inthe workplace, Avanade’s research yieldspolarized views among business leaders(500), IT decision-makers (500) and endusers (4,000) about the technologies. Onone side is a majority of eager adoptersand on the other is a healthy minority ofholdouts – the “social skeptics.”Eager adopters are happily diving intosocial technologies at work – asdiscussed in the section above,approximately eight in 10 decision-makers (77 percent) and seven in 10 endusers (68 percent) report using enterprisesocial networking technologies. That’s aclear majority (70 percent) of the overallbase of respondents reporting use of arelatively new technology in theworkplace.On the other side is the camp of socialskeptics: one in five business and ITdecision-makers (23 percent) has notadopted social collaboration tools in theenterprise. And of those decision-makerswho have adopted, one-quarter (24percent) believe their social collaborationtools waste time or distract employeesfrom their core jobs.The truth is thatthere is a starkdifference betweenconsumer socialnetworks and what’sneeded forenterprise socialcollaboration.
  5. 5. 5Successfulcollaborationstrategies focus onpeople, not justtechnology.Executive SummarySocial Collaboration(47 percent), more easily collaborate withtheir external customers, partners andvendors (47 percent) and provide moreemployee engagement (41 percent).With improvements in speed, productivityand happiness reported by a majority ofrespondents using social technologies,enterprise social collaboration appears tobe making good on its promise.Significant opportunity in thisemerging market In the next 12 months,businesses plan to shift fromusing consumer-driven socialtools (e.g. Facebook, Twitter)to enterprise socialcollaboration tools (e.g.Microsoft SharePoint,Salesforce Chatter).Forrester estimates the market fortraditional enterprise collaborationsolutions at $42 billion in 2012. Newsocial technologies and cloud deliverymodels are helping the overall marketgrow modestly (Forrester estimates eightpercent CAGR through 2018). Socialcollaboration brings clear benefits, andenterprise social collaboration tools arereaching a tipping point in adoption. In thenext 12 months, more businesses plan toadopt enterprise social collaboration toolssuch as Microsoft SharePoint orSalesforce Chatter than popular socialnetworks such as Facebook or Twitter.This is the opposite of today’s adoptionrates, where use of popular socialnetworking technologies far outranksenterprise social collaboration tools.Today, consumer technologies top the listof collaboration tools used by enterprisesthat have adopted social networkingtechnologies, while purpose-builtenterprise collaboration technologiesround out the bottom.that they have adopted socialcollaboration tools, a meaningful numberof respondents face barriers toimplementation. More than one-quarter(26 percent) of decision-makers say thereis a lack of training to explain how to usesuch tools, and the same percentage (26percent) report a lack of IT departmentresources to implement them. And that’swith the vast majority of IT leaders (77percent) reporting increased or the sameIT budgets in the last 12 months.Unsurprisingly, the “social skeptics” wedescribed earlier cite the highest barriersto adoption. Of those who have yet toadopt social networking technologies, themajority (61 percent) believe these toolswould not help their company, and morethan half of this group (51 percent)claimed it did not fit their corporate need.Views from an IT advisor:Promoting true socialcollaboration requires morethan just the toolsOf course, social collaboration tools arejust that – tools. Collaboration is when agroup of people are working together toachieve a common goal. Very little holisticand truly effective enterprise collaborationcan happen on Facebook and Twitter.Successful collaboration strategies focuson people, not just technology.Forward-looking companies shouldanalyze what they consider to be “socialcollaboration” tools in their businessesand look to promote true enterprise socialcollaboration with the right tools to yieldfaster, more productive teams.Respondents ranked the adoption ofthese technologies in the following order: Facebook (74 percent) Twitter (51 percent) LinkedIn (45 percent) Microsoft SharePoint (39percent) IBM Open Connections (17percent) Salesforce Chatter (12 percent) Yammer (11 percent) Jive (7 percent)However, in the next 12 months,decision-makers across business and ITwould prefer the reverse. Those whohave already adopted social networkingtechnologies, and want to use more, planto adopt these platforms most: MicrosoftSharePoint (23 percent) and SalesforceChatter (23 percent). By contrast,Facebook (8 percent) falls to the bottomof this look-ahead list. While Facebooktops the list of social collaboration toolsused today, decision-makers reportconcrete plans to invest in technologiesspecifically designed for enterprisecollaboration in the next 12 months.While the benefits of social collaborationtools are many, challenges remain. Eventhough the majority of businesses report
  6. 6. 64. Communicate and thencommunicate more. Training, usereducation and changemanagement is just as – if notmore – crucial than the technologydeployment. End users in anorganization are never going toknow how much more efficientlythey can communicate and howmuch easier they can access dataunless they know how toappropriately use the tools.Survey MethodologyAvanade’s survey was conducted byVanson Bourne, an independent specialistin market research for the technologysector. It surveyed: 1,000 C-level executives, businessunit leaders, and senior decision-makers within the IT department inorganizations of 1,000 employeesor more in the following countries:United States, Canada, Brazil,Austria, Belgium, France,Germany, Italy, the Netherlands,the Nordics, Spain, Switzerland,the United Kingdom, Australia andSingapore. This fieldwork wasconducted between March 13 andApril 16, 2013.There are a few simple things an ITorganization can do to promote truesocial collaboration:1. Align technology investmentsand policies with the goals of theorganization and the needs ofthe end user. Enterprise socialtools must be simple andconsistent with the business.Otherwise they can becomeanother source for informationoverload and distraction.2. Bring data together.Collaboration goes beyondcommunicating with one another– it’s also about accessinginformation that helpsemployees do their jobs moreeffectively. Ensure humancapital and data assets are notfragmented and that there areunified solutions to provide usersaccess to the information.3. Connect your people. There is atreasure trove of information inthe minds of the individuals whomake up an organization.Provide tools to easily find thepeople that have expertise andthen give them the ability toeasily connect via instantmessage, phone, video, email,blog, etc. 4,000 end users inorganizations of 500employees or more in thefollowing countries: UnitedStates, Canada, Austria,France, Germany, Italy, theNetherlands, the Nordics,Spain, Switzerland, the UnitedKingdom, Australia, China,Japan, Malaysia andSingapore. This fieldwork wasconducted between January31 and February 20, 2013.“Collaboration Services: DeploymentOptions for the Enterprise,” Forrester,November 2012.Executive SummarySocial Collaboration