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New Research on Enterprise Social Software Use

Finally there is some quantitative research on enterprise use of blogs, wikis, tagging, etc. to complement the very informal surveys we have taken, and the work done at the University of Massachusetts. Reports from Forrester (CIOs Want Suites For Web 2.0) and McKinsey (How businesses are using Web 2.0: A McKinsey Global Survey) published this week provide interesting, though not surprising, data. The McKinsey report is free with registration, and the Forrester report isn’t expensive.

I haven’t read the Forrester report (119 CIOs), but the executive summary focuses on their finding that most CIOs want to buy enterprise social software in suite form from large vendors rather from the smaller specialist software vendors. This fact itself is of course totally predictable, but it raises two interesting issues. First, just what are all the larger vendors, as well as midsize (e.g., content management vendors) doing about all this? (Short answer – all are doing something, but the details are often vague.) Second, what will be lost or gained in the process of force-fitting the “engage and collaborate” functions and culture into the “command and control” (last week’s post) of top-down IT directives?

The McKinsey report (2847 executives, 44% C-level) found “widespread but careful interest” in “Web 2.0 technologies”, and that they are strategic and will be invested in. I think their conclusion might be a little overly conservative given their findings. For example, 77% of retail and 74% of high tech plan to increase investment in these technologies. Note, however that McKinsey includes web services as a “Web 2.0” technology which not everyone would agree with.

See comments on these reports from Nick Carr, who points out where the Forrester and McKinsey findings differ. And see Richard MacManus’ comments on what the Forrester findings mean for the startups in this space.
For a couple of vendor perspectives, Socialtexts’ Ross Mayfield covers these findings here, and FAST’s Hadley Reynolds talks about some similar research they have been working on with the Economist here.
Also (while not commenting on these reports) Andrew McAfee provides some info on how he is seeing enterprises using these technologies.

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1 Comment

  1. Niall Cook

    You ask: “…what will be lost or gained in the process of force-fitting the “engage and collaborate” functions and culture into the “command and control” of top-down IT directives?”
    Simple. The users.

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