Five Social Software Predictions for 2010

by CXOtoday Staff    Feb 02, 2010

Gartner has made predictions on the use of social software and collaboration in the enterprise. These predictions focus on offerings ranging from team collaboration to dynamic social networking applications that offer rich profiles and activity streams.

Gartner’s five key predictions for social software are:

By 2014, social networking services will replace e-mail as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications for 20 percent of business users.
Greater availability of social networking services both inside and outside the firewall, coupled with changing demographics and work styles will lead 20 percent of users to make a social network the hub of their business communications. During the next several years, most companies will be building out internal social networks and/or allowing business use of personal social network accounts. Social networking will prove to be more effective than e-mail for certain business activities such as status updates and expertise location.

Gartner recommends that organizations develop a long-term strategy for provisioning and consuming a rich set of collaboration and social software services, and develop policies governing the use of consumer services for business purposes. Companies should also solicit input from the business community on what collaboration tools would be most helpful.

By 2012, over 50 percent of enterprises will use activity streams that include microblogging, but stand-alone enterprise microblogging will have less than 5 percent penetration.
The popularity of the consumer-microblogging service Twitter, has led many organizations to look for an ‘enterprise Twitter’ — with more control and security features to support internal use between employees. Enterprise users also want to use microblogging for many of the same reasons that consumers do to share quick insights.

"However, it will be very difficult for microblogging as a stand-alone function to achieve widespread adoption within the enterprise. Twitter’s scale is one of the reasons for its popularity," said Jeffrey Mann, research vice president for Gartner. "When limited to a single enterprise, that same scale is unachievable, reducing the number of users who will find it valuable. Mainstream enterprises are unlikely to adopt standalone, single-purpose microblogging products."

Through 2012, over 70 percent of IT-dominated social media initiatives will fail.
According to Gartner, when it comes to collaboration, IT organizations are accustomed to providing a technology platform (such as, e-mail, IM, Web conferencing) rather than delivering a social solution that targets specific business value. Through 2013, IT organizations will struggle with shifting from providing a platform to delivering a solution. This will result in over a 70 percent failure rate in IT-driven social media initiatives. Fifty percent of business-led social media initiatives will succeed, versus 20 percent of IT-driven initiatives.

Enterprises will need to develop entirely new skill sets around designing and delivering social media solutions. Until this happens, failure rates will remain high. Post 2012, the social software market growth will accelerate as will the overall impact of social media on business and society.

Within five years, 70 percent of collaboration and communications applications designed on PCs will be modeled after user experience lessons from smartphone collaboration applications.
As we move toward 3 billion phones in the world serving the main purpose of providing communications and collaboration anytime anywhere, Gartner expects more end users to spend significant time experiencing the collaborative tools on these devices.

Through 2015, only 25 percent of enterprises will routinely utilize social network analysis to improve performance and productivity.
Social network analysis is a useful methodology for examining the interaction patterns and information flows that occur among the people and groups in an organization, as well as among business partners and customers. However, when surveys are used for data collection, users may be reluctant to provide accurate responses. When automated tools perform the analysis, users may resent knowing that software is analyzing their behavior. For these reasons, social network analysis will remain an untapped source of insight in most organizations.