With 2013 having come to a close, it’s commonplace for commentators and analysts to look back over the past year to see how their field has progressed in that time.
In the past few weeks we’ve had a few such reports published for the social business industry, with quite a variance in quality.
At the mediocre end of the spectrum was a report produced by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. The report, called Social technology, social business?, surveyed 2,000 employees to ascertain the role social played in their work life.
It seems the answer to the headline question is, not much, with just 26% of respondents revealing they use social media at work. Here is the peculiar aspect of the report however. It seems primarily to focus on external social networks, getting bogged down in the kind of issues that most organisations have surely moved on from. I mean, are companies still wondering whether to ban social media at work?
As if to compound the issue, the report was unveiled as part of the Institute’s Social Media in HR conference, yet no mention at all was given to social performance reviews, or the impact open innovation has on talent management.
A slightly more reliable commentary on the state of social business in 2013 came from Altimeter Group. The report is the annual state of the industry address given by the company each year, with comparison between each report providing a degree of context.
A number of clear trends emerged in the study.
- Whilst there is a clear indication that organisations want to push social usage beyond mere marketing, Altimeter found that most organisations are at an intermediate stage of social business (as defined in their Six Stages report from earlier this year.
- Most organisations now have a dedicated social media team, either at division or corporate level.
- There is a commitment to adding personnel to social media roles across all sizes of organisation, with the biggest devotees found amongst very large organisations (>100,000 employees)
- Despite this growth, just 18% of respondents believe their employees have a good understanding of social media or even their employers social media policy and strategy.
If we can take anything from either of these two reports, it seems to be that whilst 2013 has seen progress made along the road to social business, there is still a pretty considerable way to go before we can begin to drop the social part and it just becomes how business is.