Social business efforts will miss benefits through 2015 – Gartner

30 Jan 2013

Eighty per cent of social business efforts won’t achieve the intended benefits because of inadequate leadership and an overemphasis on technology through 2015, Gartner, Inc, estimates.

This is on the back of enterprise social networks becoming the main communication channels for noticing, deciding or acting on information relevant to carrying out work, Gartner reports in Predicts 2013: Social and Collaboration Go Deeper and Wider.

The key, said Carol Rozwell, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, is that businesses need to realise that social initiatives are different from previous technology deployments.

“Traditional technology rollouts, such as ERP or CRM, followed a ‘push’ paradigm. Workers were trained on an app and were then expected to use it. In contrast, social initiatives require a ‘pull’ approach, one that engages workers and offers them a significantly better way to work. In most cases, they can’t be forced to use social apps, they must opt-in,” Rozwell said.

This means leaders of social business initiatives need to change their focus from which technology to implement to identifying how social initiatives will improve work practices for managers and individual contributors. They need a detailed understanding of social networks: how people are currently working, who they work with and what their needs are, according to Gartner. 

“There is too much focus on content and technology, and not enough focus on leadership and relationships,” said Rozwell.

“Leaders need to develop a social business strategy that makes sense for the organisation and tackle the tough organisational change work head on and early on.

“Successful social business initiatives require leadership and behavioural changes. Just sponsoring a social project is not enough – managers need to demonstrate their commitment to a more open, transparent work style by their actions,” Rozwell added.