Organizations value social collaboration, but integrating it into business processes is not the norm, finds AIIM survey.
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Businesses consider integration of social technologies with business processes to be important, but only about one-third of them expect social to be integrated across the business in the next two years, according to a study by AIIM, a global community of information professionals. The study, "Industry Watch: Social in the Flow," found that security issues, higher-priority initiatives and "no clear financial benefit" were the top three barriers to integrating social techniques.
"Whilst social has been wholeheartedly accepted in consumer-land, the enterprise has responded more cautiously," said David Jones, a market analyst with the AIIM Market Intelligence Division, in the report. "Balancing the security and compliance needs of the organization with the dynamic, boundary-free nature of social tools has been a major challenge for the corporate world."
The AIIM survey was conducted among AIIM community members using a Web-based tool in October 2012. John Mancini, president of AIIM, spoke with The BrainYard about the survey's findings. He said we are at the point where businesses recognize the importance of social, but, in general, they have not integrated social into business processes. "In terms of social, we've reached a point of there's no going back," said Mancini. "But real integration is more complicated than doing social for social's sake."
When respondents were asked about their organizations' level of social integration, both for internal and external social techniques, 64% of those using social techniques said there was none. Twenty-one percent said they have some level of social integration, while 15% said they are not using social at all.
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"There's such an absence of social best practice out there -- some organizations are just winging it," he said. "Integration is key to getting value out of social in the context of business practice, but companies are struggling with it."
Another factor that seems to get into businesses' way is misunderstanding about what social means for business. Many business and IT professionals hear "social business" and think "Facebook," said Mancini.
"I think people still glom internal social and collaboration infrastructure with marketing on Facebook," he said. "The two are so different from each other in terms of what you have to think about, how you go about it, what you need to do to use it effectively."
This lack of understanding can also lead to risk for companies that are using social technology, said Mancini, because they haven't truly thought through its implications. "In the absence of understanding what this thing is, it's hard to put parameters around it," he said.
Report author Jones makes a variety of recommendations for companies integrating or planning to integrate social into business processes, including:
Define how social is relevant to your business.
Map out exactly who within the organization is responsible for the various types of social interaction.
Create guidelines and policies that explain to staff, among other things, why social is being used, for what purpose, who can contribute, what contributions are acceptable and what the consequences are for not abiding by the guidelines.
Explore how social can be extended within the business, including the benefits and challenges of such extension.
Avoid point solutions that cannot be widened to include other applications.
Determine which content should be stored and how.
Determine whether cloud or on-premises tools make more sense for your organization.
Has your organization integrated social into internal and external business processes? Do you think there is still widespread confusion about the term "social business"? Please let us know what you think in the comments section below.
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