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The rapid adoption of mobile devices, social networks and cloud based services is changing consumer behaviour – is your business ready?

According to the recent report "Social Enterprise Apps Redefine Collaboration", from analyst firm Forrester, enterprise social collaboration software, offering Facebook and Twitter-like capabilities adapted for the enterprise and business users, will soon overtake the demand for more traditional communications and collaboration products. The report estimates that spending on enterprise social collaboration software will grow to $6 billion by 2016, compared with $600 million last year.

There are vendors that focus solely on providing enterprise social software, like Jive Software, NewsGator, SocialText, Yammer and Telligent, while more established enterprise software vendors such as Microsoft, IBM, SAP, and Cisco are adding social capabilities to their enterprise business applications and communications products.

By creating a social layer between information workers and their business and communications applications, Forrester highlights that social enterprise applications are likely to change employee behaviours. Over the years, enterprises have invested in a variety of tools for increasing productivity, like email, IM, VoIP, videoconferencing and collaboration software platforms but these tools have not been fully adopted by employees – and subsequently have not been extended to partners and customers.

The rapid adoption of mobile devices, social networks and cloud based services is changing consumer behaviour – many will demand 24/7 social engagement with their preferred brands. The benefit of social enterprise applications is that they will increase business productivity to meet these demands by being able to group the people, information, and processes required to rapidly answer business, partner and consumer needs.

Enterprise social collaboration software will impact a business in a number of ways:

  • Co-creation - By improving engagement with consumers and partners it will be possible to create feedback loops to improve product development, innovation and supply chains.

  • Collaboration - Inside the enterprise it will be easier and faster to mobilise experts and stakeholders

  • Public relations and marketing - The “one size fits all” broadcast approach to marketing will be replaced by listening to the sentiments expressed by consumers across social networks. This will guide the customisation and personalisation of marketing collateral and public relations messages.

  • Social CRM - Customer relationship management is likely to be revolutionised by the combination of mobile devices and location based services offering the potential for real-time engagement with consumers at all stages during the buying cycle.

  • Mobile flexible working - social collaborative platforms and mobile devices will enable staff to increase productivity.

Vodafone Global Enterprise can help you manage the opportunities and threats of these challenges.