Last night while perusing my twitter feed I saw a tweet from Mark Ragan that intrigued me:

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This sounds alarming in nature, so I thought this would be a good time to discuss the points of this article.

Trouble Finding Value


Here is the deal: Prescient Digital, a Toronto-based agency, recently polled "651 participants from organizations of all types and sizes from across the planet". While this sample size is not the most statistically significant sample and there is no clear mention of company size, let's address the findings one by one:

The firm's 2013 Social Intranet Study found that 76 percent of the companies surveyed use instant messaging, at least in some limited way. About 75 percent use blogs. Around two-thirds have wikis, discussion forums, and user comments. It's fair to say social tools are being used widely.

However, only 19 percent of organizations rated their social intranet tools as good or very good. Even fewer executives, 17 percent, like them.

Toby Ward, president of Prescient Digital Media, says the tools are easy to come by, but demonstrating their value is considerably tougher.

"Enterprise social media is still seen, at least by the executive suite, as something that isn't necessarily mission critical, but as something to keep the masses happy," he says.

We recently worked with a top three global consulting firm to survey actual Jive customers about what the business value Jive has brought to their organization. The results can be downloaded here. I'll take a moment to share with you a few highlights. Those companies using the Jive platform reported 15% increased worker productivity and 2-4% increase in topline revenue. This is because these businesses were able to:


  • reduce time looking for information and expertise within in the company by 34%
  • reduce meetings by 16%
  • reduce email load by 21%


And that’s just scratching the surface. Employee engagement is higher when implementations are focused on specific use cases that solve real business problems for sales teams, marketing teams, customer service solutions and/or the corporate intranet. Companies doing this see better strategic alignment and up to a 24% drop in employee turnover.


Ward then goes on to describe three factors that differentiate those companies that see value in social intranets from those who do not:

First, executives accept that the technology is worthwhile and even champion it. Second, those companies make investments in the tools that fit their business goals. Third, those companies have change-management procedures in place.


These three factors have always been of the utmost importance at Jive. They alone will not make a social platform work, but without them you have absolutely no chance, as clearly evidenced by the 17% of executives that like their social tools.


You Get What You Pay For

Next we learn a bit about the budgets with which these 651 respondents are paying:

Companies don't spend very much on their social intranets, either. A plurality of respondents, 47 percent, said they have spent less than $10,000 on social tools. Ward adds that intranet budgets are generally 1/50 to 1/100 of external website budgets.

Intranets are viewed as simply less important than websites, because they're indirect, whereas external websites communicate directly with customers, Ward says. "It's tougher to think about," he says.


It doesn't look like we are dealing with a lot of Fortune 500 companies in this survey. In this space, it is true that you get what you pay for. A successful implementation needs to take into consideration the use cases, best practices, launch support, and much more, which you get from Jive's professional services team.

Measure? Measure!


Here is a (BIG) part of the problem:

Virtually no organizations—not even those where people are satisfied with their social tools—measure the ROI of their social intranets. Only 6 percent of respondents said they do.


We fully support this statement! It is true that without measurement, you cannot justify the cost or prove the business value.


Ward then goes on to back our approach:

Yet there are measurable benefits, such as cost savings from increased productivity, Ward says. Companies could get a lot out of measuring ROI.

"If they just spent a little bit more money and a little bit more time on their efforts, they would get the returns they think [they could]," he says.

..."One of the reasons why we do this study is just for this reason," he says. "You show executives the results, the findings, the recommendations. There's empirical evidence that shows if you invest, you do the change management, and you do it well, there are significant returns."


We couldn't agree more.

Be sure to download our whitepaper on finding business value here. I want to hear from you, where do you get the most value from social business?