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5/20/2013
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Facebook Ranks Top 'Enterprise' Collaboration Platform

Businesses beware: Employees prefer using Facebook to SharePoint and other IT-driven collaboration platforms, finds global study by Avanade U.K.

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LinkedIn: 10 Important Changes
CIOs who allow their staffs to drive their entire social media-driven collaboration strategies risk endangering their organizations, warns the U.K. arm of the joint Accenture-Microsoft joint venture Avanade.

Why would they even let that happen? After all, companies like Avanade parent Microsoft have been successfully seeding enterprises with tools like SharePoint for many years.

The problem: while CIOs, aided by firms like Avanade, have been providing enterprise-caliber tools, no one's been doing much collaboration work with them. This has left a huge vacuum that Avanade says is being rapidly filled with homegrown, grassroots-driven, consumer-based technology instead.

"To be led completely by your workforce when it comes to collaboration is asking to end up with a completely undisciplined and unmanageable environment," Andrew Barber, deputy lead in the collaboration practice of the global consulting firm's British arm, told InformationWeek.

"It's very easy to let your corporate data end up on Facebook. Whether you should is quite a different matter."

[ Are we seeing the end of "social" as a unique category? Read Social Business Not Dead, Just Business As Usual. ]

Barber's team released on Monday the results of a global study of enterprise social collaboration trends that, if nothing else, backs up his observation that, "A lot of current collaboration is about people bringing the tools they work with at home into the office."

Indicating a sort of "bring your own software" dynamic, Avanade's data shows Facebook is a collaboration platform twice as popular as SharePoint -- 74% to 39%. It's also four times more popular than IBM Open Connections (17%) and six times more popular than Salesforce's Chatter (12%).

The study, of 4,000 users and 1,000 business and IT decision-makers in 22 countries, also said 77% of managers and 68% of users say they now use some form of enterprise social networking technology. IT decision makers said such social technologies make their jobs more enjoyable (66%), more productive (62%) and "help them get work done faster" (57%). All in all, said Avanade, of those businesses currently using social collaboration tools, 82% want to use more of them in the future.

But which ones? The study claimed, perhaps somewhat optimistically, that decision makers planning to adopt social technologies put SharePoint and Chatter (tied at 23%) at the top of their list of collaboration deployments planned in the coming year. Thus, though Facebook is ranked number one among social collaboration technologies in use today (74%), when asked what social tools businesses want to adopt in the next year, "Facebook fell to the very end of the list with only eight percent of decision-makers respondents noting it as a priority," said Avanade in a statement.

However, Barber admitted that IT-led, SharePoint-centric collaboration projects don't always succeed. Instead, he offered up Yammer, now also a part of the Microsoft technology stack, as a potentially more successful tool for CIOs to offer. "In many ways, that's a model of how grassroots-led collaboration can work really well, and add in the social flavor of workplace conversations in a much less dangerous way than letting people just go straight to Facebook," he said Monday.

For the study, Avanade interviewed 1,000 C-suite executives, business unit leaders and senior decision makers in the IT departments of organizations with at least 1,000 employees, in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the Nordics, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. It also polled 4,000 end users in organizations of 500 employees or more in all the same countries except for Brazil. All fieldwork was conducted between March 13 and April 16.

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PJS880
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PJS880,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/27/2013 | 3:24:54 AM
re: Facebook Ranks Top 'Enterprise' Collaboration Platform
I have to agree with
both Richard Hughes and cbuckley98002 the title threw me for loop and actually was what brought me to read
the article. I would never use Facebook as an enterprise collaboration tool.
Especially if I have the means to software like SharePoint. Furthermore if was
the business owner that spent lots of money to get a service like SharePoint,
to only find out employees were using Facebook. I think I would be upset as the
business owner.

Paul Sprague

InformationWeek Contributor
cbuckley98002
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cbuckley98002,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/29/2013 | 7:15:11 PM
re: Facebook Ranks Top 'Enterprise' Collaboration Platform
Richard, I had a similar initial reaction. Collaboration in the enterprise does not equal enterprise collaboration. But what I think this indicates is that for the majority of organizations who do not have enterprise-class social collaboration tools in place, there will be data / intellectual property "leakage" through consumer-based social platforms, such as Facebook. Do the majority of users talk about work on Facebook and Twitter? No. But does it happen? Yes. And does that increase risk for organizations? You bet.

The fact that Facebook usage is so broad within the enterprise tells me that most organizations are culturally ready for enterprise-class social collaboration.
Richard Hughes
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Richard Hughes,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/28/2013 | 12:43:41 PM
re: Facebook Ranks Top 'Enterprise' Collaboration Platform
Sorry for not replying sooner - I missed your comment. Yes, I think a follow-up would be interesting. What I'd be particularly interested in is how the survey separated internal communication (i.e. employees talking to each other, what I would characterise as "enterprise collaboration) from external communication (i.e. employees talking to customers, what I would characterise as "customer engagement").
garfage
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garfage,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2013 | 5:30:23 PM
re: Facebook Ranks Top 'Enterprise' Collaboration Platform
I would be happy to direct any specific questions you have on the study to Avanade here in the UK; I think it would make an interesting follow up?
Richard Hughes
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Richard Hughes,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2013 | 10:03:24 AM
re: Facebook Ranks Top 'Enterprise' Collaboration Platform
So, were they seriously suggesting that 74% of companies do employee-to-employee collaboration on Facebook? I find that astonishing. As a vendor of enterprise social networking software, I've talked to a lot of companies interested in this subject, and I can't remember *any* of them using Facebook for internal communication. I suppose it is statistically possible that I have only spoken to the other 26%... but very unlikely.
garfage
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garfage,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2013 | 9:50:16 AM
re: Facebook Ranks Top 'Enterprise' Collaboration Platform
Interesting point, Mr Hughes, though your interpretation was not the one offered by Avanade in the interview.
Richard Hughes
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Richard Hughes,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2013 | 9:38:00 AM
re: Facebook Ranks Top 'Enterprise' Collaboration Platform
At first I was astonished by the headline. But after reading the report, I've come to the conclusion that it is, in fact, just deeply misleading.

It seems (although it is not at all clear), that survey respondents were asked which social technologies they used, NOT which social technologies they used for enterprise collaboration. The fact that 74% said they use Facebook is unsurprising - what would be surprising is if any of those used it for enterprise collaboration.

So comparing the Facebook figure with the SharePoint figure is completely meaningless - they're being used for different things. I would guess virtually no one uses Facebook for employee collaboration, and virtually no one uses SharePoint for customer engagement.
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