Thinking Differently About Adoption of Internal and External Social Apps

The Executive Board recently published this chart showing enterprise user adoption versus enterprise deployment of various technologies, including “social networking”.

(click chart to view larger image on the Executive Board site)

enterprise-deployment-and-usage-levels-june-2010

When they mention social networking, the authors seem to describe deployment of internal social applications for collaboration (judging by the slash it shares with “rich user profiles”). I draw a clear line between social applications inside the enterprise versus social applications used for engaging external audiences. The system owners, business owners and use cases all tend to be different in those two categories.

In addition, it is far easier to prove ROI for applications that engage external audiences, because you can track impact to lead generation, or awareness, etc. It is far more difficult to track the ROI of a social collaboration tool, which is part of the reason those tools have taken so long to get traction in the market.

I’d like to see this chart with another bubble for social applications used for external engagement. It would probably be far higher on the both axes, although it should probably be broken into: (1) monitoring and mining and (2) engagement and interaction applications.

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