Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Social Media impact on business and future growth – IDC Research

2011 has seen rapid expansion of business change that is being driven by the social customer, empowered employees, and a convergence of new technical capabilities. IDC SVP and Chief Analyst Frank Gens, believes that 2011 is the year we tip from the PC/Server-dominant era to the era of Social/Mobile/Virtual (the latter effectively meaning cloud computing). The new era is driven by advances in four key technologies – social media, analytics, intelligent devices, and broadband networks. He suggests that high-value growth will result where industry-specific challenges mash up with these technology trends. Social commerce, for example merges retail + mobile intelligent devices + social. Telemedicine mashes healthcare + mobile broadband + analytics. . According to International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide revenues for message and social media archiving applications will increase from $1.15 billion in 2011 to $2.04 billion in 2015. IDC said 62 percent of US businesses already have message archiving, and increasingly, corporations are looking to store social media data that's searchable within a data storage system.

IDC's Forecast for Management Survey, 2011, shows that over the next 12 months, more than 24 per cent of IT decision-makers will deploy social media or collaboration-type applications via platforms that allow the business to build applications in-house. Social business survey by International Data Corporation (IDC) shows that 41% of respondents have some sort of social business initiative underway. This leaves 59% who have not implemented a solution. However, these projects vary greatly – from grassroots bottom-up employee initiatives to sophisticated and strategic social customer engagement programs – as do the maturity of the businesses and their social strategies. Companies can set up all the technology and programs they want, but getting people to participate is another matter. Slightly more than 50% of companies said this was a major problem. Companies are hiring journalists, content strategists, content managers, and various influencer relations professionals among other new roles. IDC surveys show 51% of workers in the United States use social media in the enterprise. Roughly 5% are part of a corporate initiative while about 33% of employees embark on a self-directed initiative. And according to IDC data, 15% of businesses are using social media for work.

As social media matures, more tools become available for managing and while business units remain involved in picking these technologies, IT helps select and implement them. According to Michael Fauscette, an analyst at IDC, social media tools are spreading "across all departments" sales and customer service. When IDC first conducted the survey three and a half years ago, marketing dominated the results. Fauscette says social media is used internally for collaboration and idea generation, and externally for marketing and crisis response. When it comes to managing the strategy behind social media, however, marketing still rules -- it handles that responsibility at 48% of companies -- and IT isn't involved at all. Corporate communications is second, cited by 29% of the respondents as one of the departments that handles social media strategy (multiple answers were permitted). Meanwhile, 26% of the respondents named product development, 23% said customer service, and 16% cited sales. Fauscette calls this shift a sign that the social media market is maturing. He says this means the technology will begin to become part of IT's purview. IT shows up in the integration and implementation of the tools and when social media moves out of marketing's control, moves beyond experimenting then IT department will take over and look at broader perspective.

In an IDC study- Determining the Value of Social Business ROI: Myths, Facts, and Potentially High Returns states widespread industry adoption of enterprise social software is relatively immature and executives want a clearer understanding of the potential gains, costs, and return on investment that social business initiatives can have on a company’s bottom line. When conducting ROI on social business initiatives, the traditional rules of business still apply. This is regardless if a company deploys social business initiatives to assist customer service, marketing, public relations, product innovation, employee collaboration, or other functional areas of the organization. One of the obstacles to getting a clear ROI is that much of the well-publicized social media use cases have been in the area of marketing, an area where ROI is more elusive.

IDC research says that people are using social media outlets to access, distribute, share and influence the entertainment consumption of others. And that, says IDC analysts, is fostering a new "addressable" advertising category that is worth billions of dollars and growing fast. The report, "Social Entertainment 2.0: What Is It, And Why Is It Important?" estimates it will grow from $2.5 billion in 2010 to $5.8 billion in 2015, averaging 18% growth per year. And that's just in the U.S. Globally, IDC estimates worldwide social entertainment ad spending to be about twice that volume. Based on a survey of U.S. adults 18 to 34 conducted by IDC in April, the top five Internet destinations for entertainment content and news are Facebook (74%), YouTube (71%), Google (68%), Yahoo! (47%), and (31%). The top 5 regularly visited on mobile phones were similar: Facebook (63%), Google (45%), YouTube (39%), Yahoo! (25%), and Twitter (17%).

According to IDC’s Matt Healey, with the rapid growth of social media platforms, most enterprises are have embraced this form of communication from an outbound marketing perspective. There are few organizations that do not have a corporate Twitter account. However, using social media for outbound marketing represents only a small portion of the power of social media. Most organizations now realize that they need to monitor the conversations that are not started or controlled by their marketing departments. The problem is that traditional IT systems have not been designed to address these needs. As a result, several startups have begun to develop technology to monitor and analyze social media. As these organizations begin to mature, they will increasingly be the target of acquisition by larger SW vendors that are looking to incorporate this technology into their CRM or other enterprise applications. IDC expects that in the next few years, this type of social media analysis will move from a standalone application to an integrated part of larger systems. 2011 saw two acquisitions, acquisition of Radian6 by and Twitter acquisition of BlackType. 

Social Media @ IBM Case study – IBM social media adoption in their organization

IBM had encouraged its employees to use internet since 1997 when most of the companies were not allowing their employees use of internet. In 2003, the company made a strategic decision to encourage IBMers to participate in blogs and embrace the blogosphere. Social Business @ IBM is an internal site that has interactive, educational and social programs which explain  IBM’s social business transformation and  educates and enables IBMers in external social media participation. Employees take personal responsibility for their social media activities and the company has set rigorous guidelines (IBM Social Computing Guidelines 2008) and objectives for its social media strategy. Employees can build their social presence, showcase their expertise, drive innovation and deliver business value through trust and people-centered digital experiences.

IBM developerWorks is a web-based resource and social network for millions of developers and IT professionals worldwide. This forum was meant for software developers to stay up to speed and communicate with each other on the most current technologies, techniques, and standards. In addition to blogs, forum includes user profiles, forums, wikis, groups, and an integrated iPhone application, and users can also pull in Facebook and LinkedIn content to their developerWorks profile, and publish their developerWorks activities to Facebook via Facebook connect. It has library of over 30,000 articles, receive three and a half million page views and 1M visitors per month. On average, of the 5,000 people posting to our forums at least once a month, 50 percent are new and 50 percent are returning and 400K+ active profiles, over 1000 community groups, 800+ active bloggers, 450 wikis, and 20,000 shared bookmarks. DeveloperWorks has both encouraged the growth of the open standards development community while driving down IBM support costs. The net result of the following activities is over $100M in annual support savings.

IBM Blogs Central & Wiki Central
started blogging since 2003 and have 17000 individual blogs and more than 100000 users that have software project discussions to discussions about IBM’s business strategies. IBM doesn’t have a corporate blog or a corporate Twitter ID because employee’s blogs aggregate as the company’s blogs. Through BlogCentral, IBM Employees can share their ideas by creating their own blogs, or subscribe to each other's blogs via RSS.

Completed in 2005, the IBM wiki platform “Wiki Central” allows any IBMer to create a wiki. The potential business applications of a wiki cover two broad benefits: collaboration and knowledge-sharing. IBM has scored some notable successes on both fronts in the near-5,000 wiki pages, 10, 00,000 page views per day and 100,000 users. Due to Wiki central usage by employees to collaborate and share IBM had seen a measurable decrease in e-mail traffic in those areas of between 30 and 40 percent. IBM’s wiki environment, QED Wiki, is mash-up that allows the non-technical user to aggregate content from multiple sources, such as widgets, blogs, wikis, contact lists, podcasts, or one of almost a hundred plug-ins, and present it on one site.

Beehive (SocialBlue)
Beehive is akin to Facebook, but slightly different, and perhaps more viral employee social networking site and it allows employees to connect, track each others’ activities, share photos, and even schedule events, a key viral ingredient of Beehive’s buzz is the ability to create shared lists – “top 5” lists called “Hive5s”. Points are given for activities on the beehive and with accumulated points IBMers grow from a new bee into a working bee, to busy bee, and finally a super bee. Beehive has created a sense of community at IBM and help employees make new connections, track current friends and coworkers, and renew contacts with people they have worked with in the past. Over 65,000 employees have joined the site and IBM focuses on understanding motivations for using the site, impact on organizational social capital, and design of incentives to encourage participation.

IBM found out that 40% of employee directory listings (called Blue Pages) were not being updated and create a parallel system called Fringe which is a people tagging system. People tagging is a form of social bookmarking that enables people to organize their contacts into groups, annotate them with terms supporting future recall, and search for people by topic area. Fringe profiles display contact information and automatically generated information from the Blue Pages directory including: Communities that they belong to, Blog entries and Bookmarked pages (from their social bookmarking tool, Dogear). Everyone at IBM has a Fringe page by default and grabs existing corporate data automatically for the user and employees can tag anyone with any keyword or tag. Fringe's main goal is to create a better, more representative corporate directory.

IBM started the jam concept globally in 2001. Jam is like a massively parallel conference. Employees post views and suggestions on the company's intranet on issues ranging from their careers to possible innovations and how to take IBM forward. These posts are discussed and debated and management will eventually sift through the entire discussion, identify matters of concern, valuable suggestions and innovative ideas, and use those to redesign practices and policies, and to create new business ventures for IBM. During IBM's 2006 Innovation Jam - the largest IBM online brainstorming session ever held - IBM brought together more than 150,000 people from 104 countries and 67 companies. As a result, 10 new IBM businesses were launched with seed investment totaling $100 million. Jams methods, tools and technology can also be applied to social issues. In 2005, over three days, the Government of Canada, UN-HABITAT and IBM hosted Habitat Jam. People from 158 countries registered for the jam and shared their ideas for action to improve the environment, health, safety and quality of life in the world's burgeoning cities. Their ideas shaped the agenda for the UN World Urban Forum, held in June 2006.

Recently in February 2011, IBM hosted Jam, bringing together over 2,700 participants to discuss social business and the ways in which it can redefine how we work in the years ahead. For 72 hours, individuals from over 80 countries “jammed” on key issues and generated new ideas on the major themes. Report synthesizing the 2,600 discussion posts and more than 600 tweets from the Jam highlight that ROI on social media is quantifiable, adoption is slow, increasing focus of integrating social activities and business processes is essential for success.

Other Social Media Initiatives
IBM launched its own social book-marking system, Dogear in 2007 which was a corporate equivalent of web services like; it grabs a URL and a description (tag) and also allows access to lists of tags from the profiles of other users. Employees can find someone with similar interests and then subscribe, via RSS, to their own tags, or contact them directly. As with all social book-marking, descriptions are user-generated. It follows a folksonomy rather than a taxonomy concept, so no one is shoe-horned into a hierarchy.

IBM was one of the first companies to set up an island on Second Life in 2006, and it was one of the richer corporate experiences on the virtual world. One million current and former IBM employees have joined Second Life, and there are no restrictions on how it was used or accessed. IBM was one of the key corporate backers with a large virtual campus but that campus was closed in early 2010. IBM had begun withdrawing most of its presence from Second Life since then.

IBM integrated all its internal social media platforms into a single platform, based on Lotus Connections for all IBMers. The single integrated platform includes micro-blogging, wikis, blogs, activities (informal workflow to customize and use informal projects, to do lists, activities, etc.). The single platform, also called Connections, is still in its early days, but enjoys about 100,000 unique users every month in Connections.

IBM Social Media success
IBM is following a decentralized social media approach and controls the internal social media through the employee-created guidelines. IBM does not regulate employee social media activity and instead encourages employees to collaborate and share and drive innovation. Employees are educated about the guidelines and policies and are provided the necessary social media platforms. IBM has integrated social media as an integral part of its business. IBM through its social media initiatives have developed products and services and ended up as client-facing revenue generators, as the big blue capitalizes on its knowledge leadership. IBM has created community and through the social media channels, content is being created internally and externally and “align” it to IBM’s business goals. IBM acknowledges that social media is a very good option for communication with employees and clients and utilize these channels for business growth. In 2011 IBM has conducted Social Media Jam highlighted that mmonitoring every customer interaction at every point in the buying cycle will showcase opportunities to improve service using social capabilities.

Social Media Masters 2011 NYC: Kat Mandelstein
Discussion Points:
  1. What is the social media tools role in interacting with employees and clients?
  2.  How to manage the risks involved in the employees and clients social media interactions?
  3. How to increase the employee and client’s participation in the social media platforms?
  4. How to manage knowledge that is generated through the various social media platforms?
  5. What type platforms and infrastructure are to be created for the social media interaction within the organization? ( Blogs, Wikis, forums, Face book, Linkedin, intranets, etc)
Appendix1: Social Media in IBM

Social Media Buzz of Anna Hazare, Jan Lokpal & Corruption in India

Chart 1 is Boardreader output a forum search engine which indexes about 16 billion documents. The chart highlights past three months activity. Activity shows higher levels when Anna Hazare was arrested and sitting on a hunger strike at Ram Leela Ground. As soon as the hunger strike was called off, activity levels normalized which shows that the web world was no more interested. Anna Hazare and corruption in India ranked high when compared to Anna Hazare’s solution of Jan Lokpal Bill. This raises doubts about Jan Lokpal and its efficiency. People were more interested in Anna Hazare and corruption in India but not Lokpal bill. 

Chart 2 is Omgili Buzz Graph which measure and compare the Buzz of any term. Buzz is the percentage of the term out of the total number of discussions. Chart shows in past one month buzz is more around corruption in India and buzz around Anna Hazare have gone down as he is on a vow of silence. Jan Lokpal bill is seeing no buzz at all.

Chart : 3 is IceRocket is a real time search engine that  searches web, social media, blogs, and videos.  Chart 3 shows that during Anna Hazare Agitation that started on  August 20 till September 04 there was buzz on all the three i.e. Anna Hazare, Corruption in India and Jan Lokpal bill. But the buzz died down to low levels after the agitation is called off and it even went down after Anna Hazare started his vow of silence. Corruption in India is high buzz when compared to other two. Lokpal generated lesser buzz when compared to Anna Hazare and but almost equal buzz compared to Corruption in India. Lokpal as a solution people are not accepting. 

Chart 4 is Google trends which shows the search volume trends and news reference volume.  Trend has significantly rose during the Hunger strike agitation during August 20 and September 04. Trend normalizes after the agitation is called of.  Anna Hazare and Corruption in India is the dominant trend. Jan Lokpal trend is very low . The movement is more in favor of Anna Hazare and Corruption but Jan Lokpal is very low. 
Chapter 5 is a Nielsen Company tool Blogpulse that identifies the topics and subjects that people are talking about in their blogs. Buzz during the agitation is high and this data shows Lokpal bill too generated very high buzz during agitation.  After agitation is called off, the buzz normalized and in October Anna Hazare and Lokpal bill saw sudden increase in buzz as the team was campaigning in Hissar parliament by-election against congress. Corruption in India is seeing high buzz otherwise. 

Social Mention tracks blogs, blog comments, Twitter, mainstream news, images, video, and audio. Data shows Anna Hazare has comparatively  more buzz when compared to all three search terms i.e. Anna Hazare, Lokpal and Corruption in India. Anna Hazare ranks high in all parameters.

HowSociable tracks mentions of brands on a wide range of sites in terms of  brand's Presence that is the number of sites brand is visible on, brand's Brightness show visible it is on those sites where it has a presence and brand's Audience is the number of people who have seen it. Data shows Ann Hazare has high visibility score when compared to other two terms. Corruption slightly scores high.  Face book, Linked in, and You tube are social networking sites where all three terms had buzz. 

Twitrratr is a tracking tool that will help to discover what people are saying on Twitter and gauge the popularity of other Twitters, brands and products via a provided grading system. Data shows people on twitter are neutral on both Anna Hazare and Lokpal bill. More neutral in terms of Jan Lokpal bill. 

Overall Analysis:
Anna Hazare generated more buzz than his Lokpal Bill and his fight against corruption in India. People are more fancied towards him than understand his Jan Lokpal.  Corruption in India is topic of discussion on the social media and web after the agitation. The movement has been able to generate buzz in social media on corruption in India. Jan Lokpal is least discussed and many people have not understood the bill or made any attempt to understand or discuss the bill more. Anna Hazare has successfully brought the corruption problem to the forefront and made it a national issue. There has been a lot of buzz about him and his crusade on corruption in the social media and most of the buzz is positive and in in support. Anna Hazare and his  team has generated significant buzz in social media but were unable to keep it going as the buzz died down significantly since agitation was called off. Social media buzz on the corruption topic has to be kept alive.