Ovum Research positioned enterprise social networks in the “adopter phase,” with approximately 10 percent of organizations having either deployed solutions or signed up for Web-based offerings. The overall value of the enterprise social network market is currently $500 million, Ovum stated. That market value in part stems from an estimate of $105.4 million in revenue from IBM Connections in 2011, and the two vendors Ovum noted as having the highest level of interest, Jive and Yammer. Taking a long-view, Ovum put a potential high water mark for enterprise social networks as $10 billion.

Three emerging factors influence expected adoption growth. For one, mobile apps are expanding the access to networks and related collaboration tools. Secondly, enterprise collaboration technology is “awash with social software” from new and established vendors. And thirdly, enterprises of varying sizes are being increasingly drawn to in-house social networking capabilities through “freemiums,” the handful of free, basic functions that have options for purchased growth. Ovum stated in the report that those free offerings open the door for ROI discussions with enterprise social networks, boosting potential adoption by the next wave of interested organizations.

However, in a release accompanying the report, Ovum analyst Richard Edwards says that many organizations will only be prodded into adopting ESN “when necessity dictates a business change.”

“As the business case for investment in enterprise social networking solutions has yet to be proven to business skeptics, some vendors are encouraging independent user adoption in the hope it will prove business value,” said Edwards.

Source: Information Management

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