Among the 79% of businesses using social technology, 61% say they have attained measurable business value through their use, according to [download page] August 2012 survey results from Mzinga, Teradata Aster, and The Center for Complexity in Business at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. 12% of respondents report that social technologies have already helped them “immensely” in their roles, while 49% report having seen measurable business value but have not used social technologies to their full potential. Just 2% believe social technologies to be a “fad and a waste of time.” An additional 1 in 5 say they have “somewhat” attained value, and while knowing that everyone is involved, remain skeptical.
Most Yet to Measure ROI
Surprisingly, despite users saying they are attaining “measurable business value” from social technology use, only a minority of companies measure the return on investment (ROI) of their social business programs or appear to know how to do so. Just 23% of companies report measuring the ROI of these programs, compared to 77% who do not. When asked if their social software vendor or application provides analytics and data insight into ROI, just 12% responded with a definitive yes. 26% simply did not know, and 11% reported that their vendor does not provide that analysis. Fully 45% report that they do not use a vendor.
Overall, 36% of respondents say social technologies are an integral component of their business.
Marketing, Customer Experience Lead Among Uses
Data from Mzinga’s “Social Software and Big Data Analytics in Business” indicates that externally-facing business areas are those most often using social technologies. 64% of companies using social technologies reported using them for marketing or brand experience, followed by customer experience, service or support, at 47%.
But, internal use is strong as well. The third most common use is internal, being employee collaboration and/or knowledge sharing (39%). 20% use the technology for both business strategy and for human resources, followed by alliances and partner development (16%) and product development (15%).
These findings fall neatly in line with June survey results from the MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte. MIT and Deloitte identified the primary external activities for which respondents saw social software as being at least somewhat important as being marketing/branding/reputation management (79%) and customer service/audience engagement (67%). Internally, social business is seen as most important for discovering emerging opportunities and increasing employee engagement (each with 58% saying at least somewhat important).
About The Data: The survey was conducted online from March 13 to April 4, 2012 and drew more than 500 participants from a cross section of professional disciplines and industries, including media, financial services, consulting, marketing, human resources, engineering, and others. The Center for Complexity in Business at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, Mzinga, and Teradata Aster conducted the survey.