January 28, 2010 – Businesses are about to experience significant cultural and process changes driven by the social Web, reports recent IDC research.

According to a new IDC study, “The State of Social Business: 2009 Survey Results,” the intersection of Web 2.0, enterprise 2.0 and collaboration will fundamentally alter how businesses interact with customers, partners, suppliers and employees.

Of 4,710 U.S. workers surveyed by IDC, 15 percent reported using a consumer social tool instead of corporate-sponsored social tools for business purposes due to ease of use, familiarity from personal use and low cost. The primary business purposes cited by the workers were to acquire knowledge and ask questions from a community.

"Businesses today fall into three camps – the social denier, the accidental socialite and the socially aware,” said Michael Fauscette, group vice president, Software Business Strategies of IDC, in a statement. “Regardless of where a company falls in these categories, customers’ expectations of technologies and the way they interact with suppliers have changed, driven greatly by the social Web."

Fauscette suggests, "We need to stop ignoring it and start asking, 'How can we leverage these things effectively? How can we build them into the enterprise?'"

Marketers have been the earliest adopters of social media, but these tools are gaining use by executive managers and IT. IDC predicts that software companies will increase their social software offerings significantly as customer demand steadily increases. IDC also anticipates that “socialytic” applications will emerge that link social/collaboration software and analytics to business logic/workflow and data.

Read this month’s Information Management cover story, “Net Expectations: What a Web data service economy implies for business."

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