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Survey Reveals 86 Percent of Organizations Use Social Technologies for Business Purposes

Mzinga and Babson Executive Education recently invited a number of participants to participate in a survey examining social software in business. The primary goal of the survey was to examine the adoption and current state of social technologies in business, including how organizations are using social software to improve business processes such as productivity and efficiency, cost reductions, innovation, and brand awareness.

Conducted in collaboration with Babson Executive Education, the survey findings will support a new professional education program designed to help senior managers develop and implement social business strategies, new human capital policies and business processes for success in today’s increasingly socially-enabled world.

According to the survey, 86 percent of respondents reported using social technologies in one or more areas of business, including marketing, internal collaboration and learning, customer service and support, sales and human resources.

Other primary findings from the online survey, which was conducted from August 3-12, 2009 and drew more than 555 participants from various professional disciplines, include:

Social media continues to gain widespread adoption in key areas of business, but challenges still exist

  • More than 60% use social technologies in some form as an ongoing component of their business
  • More than 55% of respondents say their business currently devotes employee resources (part-time or full-time) to manage and drive their social media initiatives, while only 40% have also allocated budget to those efforts
  • Common challenges organizations are facing include senior leadership acceptance, defining program strategies and goals, lack of dedicated resources, as well as lack of measurement and ROI tracking

The types of social applications being used among businesses remains varied and broad, but the majority are integrating social technologies within their corporate websites

  • The majority of respondents report using vendor-provided solutions, while 26% have implemented proprietary solutions and only 20% report using free or trial downloads
  • The top five social application and technologies being used among respondents are: blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, virtual meetings, microblogs (e.g. Twitter), YouTube, chat, standalone community sites that incorporate multiple social tools into one environment, and discussion forums

Respondents are generally satisfied with the social technologies available to them, yet few are currently measuring ROI regardless of the social applications they’re currently using, which presents continued opportunities for vendors

  • 55% of respondents report that their current solutions are not lacking features or functions that they wish they had
  • 79% of respondents are not currently measuring ROI in any for social media programs
  • 41% of respondents do not know if their current social tools used can measure ROI

“This survey further confirms how important social technologies have become within existing business functions and processes,” said Barry Libert, Chairman and CEO of Mzinga. “We look forward to conducting this survey again in six months to see how adoption and trends continue, and how the market evolves.” Additional findings of the survey can be found in the full report:

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