International Data Corp. (IDC) yesterday released a report in which it recommends that companies connect their enterprise social networks with online communities to engage in bidirectional feedback with their customers and partners.
In the report, "Becoming a Social Business: Integrating Social Software Assets Throughout the Enterprise," IDC addresses the management challenges and subsequent best practice outcomes that can be achieved through the integration of existing enterprise social network tools with other networks or enterprise applications.
The analysis found that organizations might not integrate disparate social networks in the short term as other areas of business investment take priority, but they will begin to target online communities as a way to incent ongoing conversations and to connect disconnected social networks inside and outside the enterprise.
"An enterprise social network should become the social 'backbone' in a company by forming a relationship layer across the business to facilitate information sharing and collaboration in the context of work processes," said Vanessa Thompson, research manager of enterprise social networks and collaborative technologies at IDC, in the report.
Additionally, the handoff between the technology solution and organizational silos needs to be integrated, and all business constituents need to be engaged and involved in the enterprise social network in some way, the report concluded.
"However, enabling this social 'backbone' requires the ultimate solution to be open, extensible, and easily integrated with existing social networks, content repositories, and enterprise applications. For organizations to support the changing nature of work, they will also need to consolidate internal applications where redundant processes start to occur. This will be the common approach for the foreseeable future until all applications are built to be inherently social and other applications are replaced," Thompson said.