Frost & Sullivan: Enterprises Harness Social Networking for Increased Agility and Responsiveness

The need to enhance communication and collaboration in the workplace to increase employee engagement, accelerate decision-making, and boost overall productivity is driving the global enterprise social networking market. Organizations are integrating purposeful social collaboration functionality into workflows to dynamically connect people and information at the appropriate time, instead of relying solely on legacy collaboration tools utilized in traditional static use cases.

Frost & Sullivan’s new research finds the total number of full-suite enterprise social platform subscribers is expected to go up from 208 million in 2013 to 535 million in 2018. Currently, there are about 2 billion workers worldwide who could benefit from enterprise social technologies across numerous industries, organizations, locations and job roles. This research includes a market overview, external challenges, forecast and trends, market share and competitive analysis, and a last word of analyst predictions and recommendations.

“Enterprise social networking continues to have mass appeal as it combines the user-friendliness and relationship-oriented nature of consumer social media with more powerful features and enterprise-grade control,” says Frost & Sullivan Information and Communication Technologies Program Manager and Industry Principal Robert Arnold. “Moreover, its ability to significantly improve business agility, responsiveness, innovation, and customer service owing to increased employee access to information and expertise bolsters the market.”

The benefits of enhancing business through social channels are resonating with decision-makers, but every organization needs to set realistic expectations and measure performance (sometimes creatively) to make the value proposition meaningful for their specific situation. Fostering contribution and engagement by the critical mass of users needed to make enterprise social networking successful will require a shift in employee behavior and company culture.

In addition, the future of enterprise collaboration requires a smarter combination of different tools that can be customized to best fit each organization and workgroup’s unique needs. Manufacturers started delivering on these requirements, with some leading platforms offering strong analytics and reporting functionality that not only demonstrate the true value of enterprise social capabilities, but also give companies globally relevant insights to adjust their business strategies as warranted by market conditions and other external and internal factors.

Nevertheless, governance, risk, compliance, and security concerns – particularly in regulated industries and lines of business – will remain a key challenge until enterprise social networking solutions mature further, and customers become more educated on its value. The financial services sector is already among the leading adopters of these solutions owing to better education, careful planning, and well-defined implementation and usage strategies.

“Likewise, organizations of all sizes across different industries could benefit from enterprise social networking solutions,” stated Arnold. “It will be important, however, for end users globally to determine the best deployment model (hosted or premises-based), features, and use what will deliver the most value for them.”