The number of full-suite enterprise social media platform subscribers is expected to rise from 208 million in 2013 to 535 million in 2018, according to new research from Frost & Sullivan. Currently, there are about 2 billion workers worldwide who could benefit from enterprise social technologies across numerous industries, organizations, locations and job roles, the firm says.

The need to improve communication and collaboration in the workplace to increase employee engagement, accelerate decision-making and boost overall productivity is driving the global enterprise social networking market, Frost & Sullivan notes. Companies are integrating social collaboration functionality into workflows to connect people and information at the appropriate time, instead of relying solely on legacy collaboration tools used in traditional use cases.

"Enterprise social networking continues to have mass appeal as it combines the user-friendliness and relationship-oriented nature of consumer social media with more powerful features and enterprise-grade control," Robert Arnold, Information and Communication Technologies Program manager and industry principal at Frost & Sullivan, said in a statement. "Moreover, its ability to significantly improve business agility, responsiveness, innovation, and customer service owing to increased employee access to information and expertise bolsters the market."

The benefits of enhancing business through social channels are resonating with decision-makers, according to the report, “Analysis of the Global Enterprise Social Networking Market.” But every organization needs to set realistic expectations and measure performance to make the value proposition meaningful for their specific situation, it says.