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Avanade: C-Level Executives Starting To Integrate Social Media Into More Aspects Of Their Business

Market research firm Kelton Research conducted a study with 538 C-level executives, IT decision-makers and business unit leaders on their views, attitudes and adoption of social networking technologies earlier in the year. The executives represented a spectrum of organization from around the world and the study was commissioned by Avanade.

Key C-Level Executive Social Media Study Findings:

  • Social media is on the agenda. In 2010, just 30 percent of companies say that social media technologies are not on the agenda, compared with 59 percent in 2008.
  • Executives are getting a social media education. Fear is no longer a key factor preventing the adoption of social media. In 2008, 60 percent of respondents agreed that senior managers did not understand the potential that social media offered to both employees and customers. In 2010, only 27 percent of respondents believe this to be true.
  • Social networking is being embraced, not ignored by IT departments. In 2008, 77 percent said social networking technologies would come into the business by stealth if companies did not proactively manage its use. Now, that number has dropped to only 36 percent.
  • As more and more examples of successful uses of social media are shared C-level executives can no longer ignore this different form of communications. Many are now looking to their teams internally and challenging them with ways to integrate social media into their day to day businesses and this has only increased over the last two years according to the study.

If You Integrate It, They Will Come, Social Media Is A Driving Of Business

While new platforms continue to enter the market such as the most recent media darling Foursquare, we have seen countless successes as businesses have integrated Facebook and Twitter. Another major change from past Avanade reports is the fact that apathy, fear and concern over productivity loss by employees has started to see a dramatic decrease by C-level executives. Social media tools have helped a number of organizations specifically in ways such as:

  • Two years ago, nearly 60 percent of companies agreed that senior managers did not understand the potential that social media offered both employees and customers. This year, only 27 percent of respondents believe this to be true.
  • In 2008, more than 77 percent believed social networking would come into the business by stealth if companies did not proactively manage its use. Now, that number has dropped to only 36 percent.

The Hype is Over

Another surprise with the finding is that the number of respondents who perceived benefits has dropped significantly since 2008. For example, only 34 percent see greater customer satisfaction from using social network technologies for business purposes, compared to 82 percent in 2008. Across all categories, results are similar. This follows a typical trend of new technology adoption, shown by Gartner’s hype cycle.
The results are evidence that companies are beginning to understand the business impact of social media technologies and are moving towards a more collaborative-based workforce. With greater integration of social media technologies in the enterprise, respondents are also becoming more realistic about the business value these tools can bring to their companies.
With senior management now on board, the opportunity for communications departments to weave collaboration and social media technologies into the fabric of the workplace much easier.

Notes on Methodology

The Global Survey of Social Media in the Enterprise was conducted by Kelton Research, an independent research firm on behalf of Avanade, between February 8 and February 25, 2010. The 538 respondents include C-level executives (e.g. CEO, CFO, CIO, CTO), business unit leaders (GMs, heads of departments and functions, etc.) and IT decision-makers from 17 countries across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.


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