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How the enterprise is going social

Social networking and media has affected the enterprise in different ways than it has consumers. Analyst firm Gartner has some interesting ideas on what happens next.

Analyst firm Gartner is out with five predictions for social software, the net of which shows that social media functions will both succeed and fail in the enterprise.

Gartner believes that social services will be embraced, but perhaps not in the way we thought they would. In boiling down the various social mediums into mechanics such as interpersonal communications or performance analysis, it becomes a bit clearer how these services will be adopted in the enterprise. It also gives a glimpse into areas start-ups can target to solve business problems.

Gartner's five social software predictions for 2010 and beyond:

  • By 2014, social-networking services will replace e-mail as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications for 20 percent of business users.
  • By 2012, over 50 percent of enterprises will use activity streams that include microblogging, but stand-alone enterprise microblogging will have less than 5 percent penetration.
  • Through 2012, more than 70 percent of IT-dominated social media initiatives will fail.
  • Within five years, 70 percent of collaboration and communications applications designed on PCs will be modeled after user experience lessons from smartphone collaboration applications.
  • Through 2015, only 25 percent of enterprises will routinely utilize social network analysis to improve performance and productivity.

The two most interesting predictions are the suggestion that social-networking services will replace e-mail, and the notion that collaboration and communications applications designed on PCs will be modeled after user experience lessons from smartphones.

E-mail, for all its hassles, remains the king of the enterprise. Social-networking services do offer a nice way to deal with the pub/sub functions of communication, but will be difficult to archive and audit, especially in areas that require data compliance.

The idea that collaboration and communications application design will take mobile into account is no surprise. What's surprising, though logical, is the idea that application design on smartphones will not only become integral to business, but also that the simplicity associated with mobile applications will trickle back into the desktop world in just five years.