Microsoft believes organisations are rapidly seeking the benefits of creating a connected user experience in the workplace.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the Asia Pacific region where the latest IDC Enterprise Social Survey sponsored by Microsoft shows that 52 per cent of organisations have an enterprise social network in place, and an additional 23 per cent plan to adopt one in the next 18 months.
The survey, which interviewed 352 decision makers and influencers from medium and large enterprises from across three sub-regions in Asia/Pacific: ASEAN (Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand), ANZ (Australia and New Zealand) and Korea, highlighted a dramatic shift in priorities. Organisations are looking to enterprise social technologies to gain competitive advantage, placing them well above investments in core networks, cloud computing and business intelligence.
Driving this trend in Asia Pacific are several factors including a young workforce, early adoption of gadgets and social media, as well as cultural trends such as relationship- focused business dealings.
Todd Cione, Microsoft Chief Marketing and Operations Officer for Asia said, “Social isn’t just a new set of tools – it’s a new way of thinking about your organisation. It’s about putting people at the center of the organisation and ensuring that customers, employees and partners can connect with the people and information they need to actually get their work done. To truly enable a connected user experience you have to create a single set of tools that integrate both productivity (the ‘where’ you work) and social tools (the ‘how’ you talk) into the same place.”
“In addition to this, the rise of social media and networking is profoundly affecting the way organisations conduct their business and it’s poised to be particularly impactful in Asia as enterprises encourage the sharing of ideas, rich conversations and deep collaboration, while empowering employees.”
Globalisation is making Asian organisations not only more connected but also more integrated. Asia’s economy has grown tremendously since the introduction of the internet in the late 90s. From 2007 to 2012, the growth in the number of Asia Pacific internet users has been unprecedented, rising from 418 million to over one billion.
The rise in the use of social networks is equally remarkable with 204.9 million Facebook users in Asia, roughly 27 per cent of Facebook’s non US/Canada user base. Facebook is not alone; services such as Skype and Live Messenger have also grown, reporting more than a quarter of a billion registered users world-wide.
This phenomenon has not only changed the way organisations relate to their customers and the public as a whole, but also the way they function internally and the types of technology they need to deploy. Although social networking is predominantly consumer focused, it is increasingly relevant to the workplace as consumer technology and services dictate which types of hardware, software and services enterprises need to adopt to ensure employees work efficiently, productively and collaboratively while remaining satisfied in their work environment.
Although the IDC Survey highlighted broad acceptance of the benefits of enterprise social in the workplace, challenges remain.
Claus Mortensen, Director, Emerging Technology Research, IDC Asia/Pacific said: “Security, compliance, governance and lack of control are cited as the most important inhibitors to implement enterprise social but it is not viable for companies to resist adoption as end-users may turn to internet-based, consumer grade, and potentially less secure options. Organisations will need to educate themselves on the availability of solutions that also fulfill their IT requirements.”
Respondents to the survey indicated that Microsoft was perceived as the leader in its ability to deliver the most complete enterprise social solution.
“We were delighted with some of the findings of the survey. Microsoft’s efforts to develop and integrate the best of breed technologies have been recognised by Asia Pacific organisations as the most complete vision for highly productive and user-centric entities,” Cione said.