Companies still lagging in social media use

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter will likely resonate more with individual users than with companies, as most firms have yet to take advantage of what social media could offer in terms of business, according to Gartner senior analyst David Mario Smith.

"Organizations can benefit from growing consumer collaboration and adopt collective models," the analyst said, during a Gartner conference in São Paulo on issues such as cloud computing and social media use.

Smith called on firms to make the most of the social media wave and to absorb the best of what it offers in terms of improving business practices.

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He used the example of employing social software in a specific discussion forum, where employees in an area such as R&D can go over projects presented and contribute personally.

Marketing, customer service and sales could also benefit from specifically tailored social media tools, he said. "If all the realms are tied to providing business use, to targeting specific business value, it will certainly be successful."

To achieve that, Smith called on companies to encourage what he referred to as "pioneers" - IT entrepreneurs who develop specific corporate social software, as copying external models would not work.

Gartner believes that by 2014, these pioneers will introduce around 80% of successful social software deployments.

But he underlined that to be successful, social networking developments must be heavily based upon a business concept, and linked to goals already accepted and followed by all areas within a company.