Bangalore: Gartner analysts have predicted that by 2012, over 50 percent of enterprises will use Twitter, and by 2014, social networking services will replace e-mail as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications for 20 percent of business users.
Greater availability of social networking services both inside and outside the firewall, coupled with changing demographics and work styles will lead 20 percent of users to make a social network the hub of their business communications. During the next several years, most companies will be building out internal social networks and/or allowing business use of personal social network accounts. According to Gartner, social networking will prove to be more effective than e-mail for certain business activities such as status updates and expertise location.
"The rigid distinction between e-mail and social networks will erode. E-mail will take on many social attributes, such as contact brokering while social networks will develop richer e-mail capabilities," said Matt Cain, Research Vice President at Gartner. "While e-mail is already almost fully penetrated in the corporate space, we expect to see steep growth rates for sales of premises - and cloud-based social networking services."
By 2012, more than half of the enterprises will use activity streams that include microblogging, but stand-alone enterprise microblogging will have less than five percent penetration. The huge popularity of the consumer-microblogging service Twitter, has led many organizations to look for an "enterprise Twitter," that provides microblogging functionality with more control and security features to support internal use between employees. Enterprise users want to use microblogging for many of the same reasons that consumers do to share quick insights, to keep up with what colleagues are doing, to get quick answers to questions and so on.
"A lot has happened in a year within the social software and collaboration space. The growing use of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook by business users has resulted in serious enterprise dialogue about procuring social software platforms for the business," said Mark R. Gilbert, Research Vice President at Gartner and Co-chairman of the Portals, Content and Collaboration (PCC) Summit. "Success in social software and collaboration will be characterized by a concerted and collaborative effort between IT and the business."