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Future Impacts of Enterprise Social Networking

Muhammad Nouman Virk (Date: 08.05.2013)


1. Summary: 

The future impact of enterprise social networking tools is positive and beneficial for companies, because the emerging technologies such as, features of social media networks, rapid increase of mobile services, smart phones and social interactions, the role of social networking has been increased. The companies are able to get competitive advantage through using innovative tools of enterprise social networking.

2. Enterprise Social Networking: 

The concept of enterprise social networking is based upon “Social Media”. The social media or social networking sites are online web based applications that help the internet users to share opinions, experiences, insights and perspectives (DiPietro et al., 2012, p284). The enterprise social networking brings the power of social media into businesses and then transforms the way of communicating and collaborating (SocialCast, 2012). The importance of enterprise social networking has been rapidly increased after the emergence of important social platforms such as, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ etc. In today’s environment, the organizations are feeling pressure to expand their real time social collaboration and communications within the enterprise, so that the team members, employees and workers can get awareness about one another, available resources, current position and current performance of organizations and market situation (Hassell, 2012).

3. Future Impacts of Enterprise Social Networking: 

The future impact of enterprise social networking can be analysed through its effectiveness and rapid adoptions, especially in business. The Inks, Schetzsle and Avila (2012, p1) claims that the business organizations are rapidly adopting the social networking tools and exploring ways of achieving competitive advantages through using social networking. The research findings show that organizations are looking potential to achieve competitive advantages through using social networking that increases the importance of social networking for businesses.

The major attraction of enterprise social networking tools has been sought by business organizations. The initial tests have proved that the use of enterprise social networking is having a positive impact on business processes and overall performance. The business organizations are exploring the optimal use of social networking tools because they believe that the benefits of social networking tools are more than they are delivering currently (Inks, Schetzsle and Avila, 2012, p1).

The researchers and experts have declared the social networking “next big thing” as disruptive tool for success in this complex and dynamic business environment. According to one research, the market opportunity of enterprise social networking applications is predicted to be reached at US $61.4 billion, growing by the rate of 61% up to 2016. These facts also arise opportunities for software developing companies to develop social enterprise apps and earn income (Bridgwater, 2012).

The use of enterprise social networking is not only limited to communication, but having positive effects on various business functions. From a marketing point of view, the social networking provides the marketers to perform advertising and customer services at a cheaper cost that conventional communication tools (DiPietro et al., 2012, p284). For a Human Resource Perspective, the use of social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace etc. has increased for hiring potential candidates; even job seekers are also using social media platforms for searching new opportunities for them through updating their personal information. This newly emerged trend has modernized the recruitment and staffing procedures of today’s companies (Kluemper and Rosen, 2009, p567). For general perspective, the use of social networking helps the managers to perform multiple tasks such as, finding opportunities, addressing the risks, advertising, marketing, recruitment, corporate social responsibility, recruitment, collaboration and communication (Zukis, 2011, p79).

4. Tools of Enterprise Social Networking: 

The rapid adoption and effectiveness of enterprise social networking is mainly contributed by its innovative tools and applications, which are attracting companies to use for achieving competitive advantage. There are plenty of tools and practise of enterprise social networking.

Web 2.0 technologies are tremendous innovations of social networking. The famous tools of web 2.0 technologies are social networking, blogs and wikis etc. The role of web 2.0 technologies is vital for gaining competitive edge, because these innovative tools are providing a way of collaborating, communicating, interacting, sharing knowledge, brainstorming ideas and co-creation contents which play effective role in achieving success (Sadaf, Newby and Ertmer, 2012, p171). The Mayfield (2008, p6) and Interactive Insight Group (2012) presents the several forms of social networking;

Social Networks—Online sites, which allows the people to build pages, connect with people and share the contents i.e. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn.

Blogs—Just like online journals, show most recent posts along with database of previous posts i.e. Google Blogger and WordPress.

Wikis—Informative platforms, allows people to add, edit and use information in online databases and communal documents i.e. Wikipedia.

Podcasts—Online platforms, contains video and audio files for subscribers i.e. Apple iTunes.

Forums—Platforms and areas, which invites the online users to have a discussion on different topics.

Micro-blogging—Combination of bite-sized blogging and social networking that distributes content through online services and mobile networks. e. Twitter.

Content Communities—Online communities, which organize and shares different kinds of contents i.e. YouTube and Flicker.

RSS— Online syndication format, allows blogs and websites to distribute their recent updates as feed for internet users.

The most common and very famous tool of enterprise social networking is the “Social Networks”. The Inks, Schetzsle and Avila (2012, p1) states that the Facebook and LinkedIn are helping the organizations to connect with their customers and also market their products within both business to consumers (B2C) and business to business (B2B) environment. These features are showing that the social networking tools are flexible for both B2B and B2C environment, as an innovative platform for  companies to work in both markets simultaneously. Those companies, which are operating into both B2B and B2C markets are having a competitive edge over other companies, which are operating in one market only and that has been only because of social networking tools.

The major push to enterprise social networking has been received by the advancement of technologies. The Bridgwater (2012) states that the mobile and social emergence driving the businesses towards transformation, because these both services are facilitating all aspects of a business. The rapid increase of smart phones, tablet PC’s and electronic gadgets has enabled the users to stay active on social media networks. According to Inks, Schetzsle and Avila (2012, p2) the introduction of cloud based service, i.e. cloud computing applications, and integration of social networking features into customer relationship tools (CRM tool) has made it easy for marketers to remain directly connected with their customers. The famous examples are salesforce.com’s applications, development of chatting feature in CRM applications, IBM SmartCloud services and integration of Facebook and LinkedIn features in salesforce.com software (Inks, Schetzsle and Avila, 2012); (Bridgwater, 2012). The use of enterprise social networking provides the organization with the opportunity of gaining competitive advantage, because these features of social networking are helping the marketers to manage their customers, get in touch with them, providing direct services and market their products through best innovative and integrated communication technologies.

The companies are feeling competitive pressure from the environment due to changing trends such as, customers are more informed, power is shifting towards customers, global competition is increasing and customer needs are changing (Wylick, 2008). With specific to gaining competitive advantage, the role of social networking sites is significant. An organization enjoys certain benefits; increased productivity, improved recruitment effectiveness with low cost, improved communication within and outside the organization, finding new business opportunities, enhancing brand image, advertising at low cost, faster cycle time, another point of sale, improved customer relations and customer engagement (Moreland, 2012); (TRIS, 2010); (Sandilands, 2012); (Hatter, 2012). The businesses should invest in enterprise social networking efforts, because it leads towards achieving competitive advantage.

 


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