Home Business IT Business Telecommunications A Big Year For Social Media In The Enterprise

A Big Year For Social Media In The Enterprise

In the next twelve months many organisations will make the wrong choices about social media because of “CIO inertia” and in misconceptions about social media and consumerisation.

Social media will continue its penetration into the enterprise space, but often without the involvement of the IT department. The predictions are made in IDC’s report “Social Business and Social Media 2013 Top Ten Predictions."

The report says  2012 was a tumultuous year for social media, “most notably because of the notorious Facebook IPO and all the questions about the efficacy of social media that surrounded it,” says Claus Mortensen, IDC’s Principal for Emerging Technology Research. He expects changes across the board in 2013 in the following areas:

  • Social business, driven by new devices and operating systems
  • Consumer social media, driven by the move towards visual and commerce
  • Online and mobile advertising, driven by scepticism about the current approaches to gauging
  • Return on investment.

Mortensen expects CIOs to be the ones who push back most when their business units ask for social applications. “Since they feel that their scepticism about social media has now been validated, they will insist on a proven ROI (return on investment) even more in 2013 than they did in 2012. This ROI is still difficult to show, but this reluctance by CIOs may end up creating more problems than it prevents.”

Drawing from the latest IDC research and internal brainstorming sessions amongst IDC's regional and country analysts, the following are IDC’s Top Ten Social Business and Social Media predictions for the Asia Pacific region in 2013.

  1. The Facebook IPO will polarise the social enterprise market. IDC expects 2013 to be a year where companies and CIOs will be divided into two camps because of the IPO and all the questions about the efficacy of social media that surrounded it. One camp will continue to explore social as a foundation for their business, the other will see the developments of 2012 as confirmation of their doubts about social media and the value of social applications. This latter camp will make it very difficult for vendors of social software and solutions to capture mindshare among CIOs in 2013, and many will move their focus to the individual business units within the organizations they target.

  2. CIO resistance to social media will create islands of IT. As many CIOs continue their inertia with regards to social enterprise applications,more business units will adopt their own solutions without involving the IT department. Ultimately, this will create islands of IT deployments within the organisation. If CIOs do not become involved in 2013, the choices of the individual business units may become so embedded in the business processes that future consolidation efforts may fail.

  3. OS and device integration will accelerate social. But Microsoft and Apple alike are putting a lot of focus on integrating social into the newest versions of both their mobile and their desktop operating systems. This not only makes social media a more seamless experience for the user but it also allows for more seamless integration of social media into the applications that are being used. IDC expects CIOs to adopt Windows 8 as a platform of choice for enterprise-issued media tablets and this will in turn help social media penetrate business flows even more. But IDC expects this attempt to corporatise their employees to fail in many cases. Windows 8 tablets will become broadly accepted work devices only if they win the hearts and minds of the consumer. If not, many companies will see their employees ditch their company-issued devices in favour of their own.

  4. “Freemium” will undermine Premium. With the advent of more embedded access to social media, an increasing number of companies will start exploring social platforms for collaboration purposes. As they do so, IDC expects many – especially smaller – organisations in the region to regard the free services to be good enough for their needs and consider premium solutions only for core groups of employees who can demonstrate an absolute need for them. Free and freemium services will therefore capture a lot of the market in 2013 and eventually undermine the market for premium Unified Communications and Communications solutions.

  5. Sales impact will replace “likes” and followers. As marketers are gaining experience with using Facebook and other online platforms for their marketing campaigns, IDC expects them to become gradually more demanding with the ROI of the campaigns they run in 2013. IDC expects the value of "likes", fans and followers to be seriously questioned in 2013 and for marketers to focus on out-come based ROI for future campaigns.

  6. Visual social will be the next wave in social. As the appeal and relative efficiency of visual campaigns to text based campaigns becomes increasingly obvious to marketers, IDC expects social networks to follow suit and increase their focus on visual social networking in 2013.

  7. Social networking platforms will be the next shop front. As companies around the region are moving towards multi-channel environments for their sales, marketing and customer care organisations, social networking will move beyond just being a platform for PR and marketing activities to becoming true social business platforms. IDC expects major social networks to at least experiment with B2C shopping solutions in 2013.

  8. The Groupon model will fade away but group buying will prevail. As the US company Groupon continues to struggle and face competition from countless similar local services in the region, IDC expects this group-buying business model to fade away in 2013 as the demand moves to other types of group-based buying such as group purchasing via social communities, event-driven online bargain sales and, ultimately, SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile).

  9. In-apps advertising will emerge as the “next wave” of mobile advertising. Although mobile advertising is still in its early stages in the region, it is expected to become a US$3 billion market in 2013. Even so, there are many unanswered concerns surrounding mobile advertising, including the efficacy of ads on small screen sizes and the reaction of consumers to mobile ads. Despite promising early click-through rates, IDC expects the short comings of mobile as a platform for display ads to drive to focus of advertisers towards mobile apps by the end of 2013.

  10. OTT players will woo the telcos – up to a point. Telecommunications operators and Over The Top (OTT) content providers have historically had a strained relationship. But OTT providers are now moving into areas that mobile service providers in particular have seen as their future domain – one of which is mobile advertising. Many mobile operators have been relying on their extensive mobile customer data to secure their space in mobile advertising, but today's ad networks already have very effective targeting technology in place, leaving OTT players very little incentive to cooperate with mobile service providers. But as the mobile platform is becoming increasingly important for bandwidth heavy, media rich content provisioning.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.