Enterprise social apps too often get a lukewarm reception, but there are steps IT can take to improve adoption and use.
We asked business technology pros to assess their internal social networks, and the results skew downward: Only 13% say they're excellent, 25% good, with 37% average and 25% fair or poor. For a high-profile initiative that everyone from the CEO down is watching, a 62% chance of producing average or worse returns counts as a high-risk proposition.
This comment from one survey respondent, a senior IT director with a large technology company, captures the mood: "We have tried for over four years to push social networking in the enterprise. People just view it as one more place to have to look to get information."
Lackluster adoption is the biggest obstacle, cited by 35% of the 394 respondents to our Social Networking in the Enterprise Survey at companies using one or more internal social networking systems. That's exactly the same percentage as a year ago, even as Facebook grew its user base 50% to 750 million people. Facebook's expected public offering this year will only add to the pressure for companies to do more in-house with social networking. Vendor CEOs such as Salesforce.com's Marc Benioff, Yammer's David Sacks and Jive's Tony Zingale are pounding this drum, promoting their own social software platforms, yet it's clear that IT organizations must do more than ride the coattails of Facebook and Twitter.
InformationWeek isn't the only one seeing employees slow to embrace social apps. Forrester's survey of 4,985 U.S. information workers, published last fall, found that only 28% of workers use any kind of social software at least monthly for ...