Just to re-cap all of the data and the charts shown in this post are from a report which Jane McConnell put together.  You can find the report available for purchase as well as a link to her new survey for 2012 here.

Let’s start things off by looking at the soft benefits that organizations are seeing as a result of deploying “social media” tools within their organizations.  Just a quick point of clarification “leaders” as seen in the charts below refers to what Jane classified as leading companies, not leaders within organizations.  We can see that the greatest soft benefit is “better informed employees.”  This of course makes sense but I’m personally curious to understand how better informed employees can make better decisions at work!

Based on the research that I am doing for my book and the survey that Chess Media Group is conducting I can say these results are aligned with what I am seeing.  However I’m surprised to see things such as: improved communication and breaking down silos- not mention in here.  According to the companies I have been speaking with these have been huge benefits.

The hard benefits can be seen below.  I was also surprised to see a few things missing from this list such as less time spent searching for information and/or people.  It is interesting to note though, that many companies are indeed seeing a decreased usage of email.

If you’re wondering why more organizations are not seeing greater benefits from their internal social media initiatives, well, it’s because many organizations are not measuring them.  I find this to be quite interesting and you will see why when we release our “state of enterprise 2.0″ report in a few weeks.  We keep hearing about the ROI of deploying these tools which is quite ironic since organizations are either not planning to measure anything or are hoping to do some measurement “later.”  My favorite question to ask clients or companies I speak to is, “is solving a particular business problem just as good as being able to show a financial ROI?”  How would you answer that?

A few people who I spoke to told me that they aren’t measuring simply because deploying these emergent collaborative tools is a part of business.  I was told on numerous occasions by practitioners, “we aren’t measuring the ROI of our email or phone system, this is no different.”  I know not all organizations agree with this approach but it seems, at least from my conversations, that the majority of them do.  It also seems as though many are starting to accept this as just the cost of doing business and evolving.

Finally, I want to take a look at who actually owns these initiatives within organizations.  You might be surprised by the answer.

It looks like internal communications department are typically owning enterprise collaboration with IT in a distant second.  Personally, I find it very interesting to see how the role of IT is changing.  A few years ago most enterprise software projects would always go through IT but when it comes to collaboration it seems as though organizations are recognizing this as something that goes beyond a technical deployment.  Of course this isn’t the only conclusion one can draw, maybe the internal communication team just happens to have all the money?

The report is definitely interesting an worth your time to purchase and read especially if you are responsible for collaboration at your company.  However, I also want to stress that these results might not be applicable to you.  What works for one company doesn’t typically work for another.  Instead of using this report as blueprint for what you should be doing I would recommend to instead use it a baseline from which you can build off of.

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