Organizations have developed a clear focus on using social media to drive initiatives based on bi-directional feedback rather than a one-way broadcast communication mechanism, according a new report from research firm International Data Corp.

The trend is evident across all social experiences, both inside and outside the business, according to IDC’s fifth annual Social Business Survey. IDC surveyed 701 U.S. senior executives in February 2013, asking about their current and future technology and business plans, perceptions and experiences related to the use of social media for business purposes.

"Companies will continue to learn from social deployments, and as social capabilities are applied to an increasing number of use cases, a more granular set of business value metrics will emerge," Vanessa Thompson, research manager, Enterprise Social Networks and Collaborative Technologies, said in a statement.

"However, there is still a broad set of business use cases in customer experience, employee experience, and partner experience — including partner and supplier enablement — that can be augmented by additional social capabilities to drive increased business value," Thompson said.

The IDC survey revealed that over the next 12 months, the most sought-after business initiative companies will look to social software to provide will be online communities, with 35 percent of respondents looking to this capability. Nearly 80 percent of North American survey respondents have deployed a corporate-sponsored enterprise social network solution.

The skills gap is becoming an increasing challenge for organizations, with 35 percent strongly agreeing that they did not have the internal skills to support social software.

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