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MIT Report on Social Business: What are Companies Really Doing?


Posted by on May 31, 2012

The folks over at MIT teamed up with Deloitte to produce quite an interesting report around Social Business which included responses from almost 3,500 people around the world.  The goal of the report was to shed some more light around what is happening in the world of social business; which includes both customers and employees.  Personally, I thought the report was a bit muddled as it intertwined social business, social software, and social media together which made it a bit hard to discern when they were talking about enterprise collaboration and when they were talking about engaging customers.  Still, the report did have some interesting insights and findings.

The image below shows how organizations today are measuring their collaboration initiatives.  Not surprisingly, most companies are not doing any type of measurement and those that are focus on “busy” metrics such as employees signed up, how many employees are posting, and the total number of posts.  As I’ve stated many times, this in now way shows engagement, it simply looks at busy metrics or activity.

As far as why employees participate in social media, the top reasons were:

I found it interesting that collaboration and communication were not mentioned anywhere in this survey question which in my opinion are two of the cornerstones for what much of enterprise collaboration is about. They put together a great Slideshare presentation which shares some key findings

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  • Anonymous

    Hi Jacob, this is a great post and put me in touch with a report from MIT that I would have probably missed. My company (Think Big Online) works with lots of small companies that don’t understand the power of social media. They are very removed from considering what their employees are doing within social and have almost zero understanding of how far social media can take them. http://www.thinkbigonline.com.au/why-twitter-facebook-and-google-are-must-haves-in-your-seo-arsenal/ Very true what you said about communication being a cornerstone of what this social enterprise is all about! And that is what we’re trying to share with our small biz clients — get the conversation started.

    I agree that the report seems a bit muddled, as you said, but perhaps that’s because we are all trying to find the lines within this tricky game. Cheers, Alisa

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com/ jacobmorgan

      Glad you discovered the report!  I still think they could have done a better job with what they put out there.  Especially if it’s coming from MIT and Deloitte.  I’ll take a look at the link, thanks!

      • Anonymous

        Cheers for that, Jacob! Very generous of you as you’re clearly very busy! Look forward to your next post.

  • http://walteradamson.com Walter Adamson

    Actually although it had some good quotable sections overall this was a half-baked report. As you pointed out the questions were ill-thought through, it basically had two big case studies one “donated” by Yammer and another by Salesforce, and it was filled with conjecture and personal opinions of a number of Academics who quite frankly have no more idea than anyone else how to explain the data. Just like the measurement results they report, this was basically an output of an activity to produce a report – tick, job done. It’s insights are missing.

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com/ jacobmorgan

      Hi Walter,

      I agree, it’s unfortunate that they had such a large sample size yet really didn’t get much valuable information out of it.  After re-reading the report I realized how much it was lacking in actionable information…pitty.