October 4, 2012

Can enterprises afford to ban social media any longer?

(Sponsor-Contributed Paper)

social_media.jpg67% of European CIOs and IT Directors said they currently block Facebook, 56% do the same for on-line video and 49% for Twitter1. I was quite surprised by these numbers: why do enterprises shun the benefits of social media for business? Whilst our survey didn't address all these points, we could imagine some of the reasons:

  • Security and compliancy: enterprises need to ensure their ICT infrastructure isn't used for bad reasons, limiting the risk to spread malware and blocking rogue web sites (porn, on-line gaming...);
  • Productivity: Lines of Business (LoB) might desire to ensure their collaborators don't spend (too much) of their working time on Call of Duty, Flight Simulator or FarmVille at the detriment of the business processes, partners and customers;
  • Performance: CIOs are unsure of the impact of social media on the business critical application performance: will sharing summer holidays photos on Flickr or look the last shot of Lady Gaga on YouTube fill up the network at the detriment of less enjoyable but more necessary usage of SAP, Oracle or Salesforce?
Oreshek_Fortress.jpgWhilst the first point is out of discussion, it does not imply to block social media but only the "bad" sites. There are many reasons for the second issue to be addressed from a different standpoint. First, the way to work is changing fast with a fainter barrier between private and professional life: if you are required reading (and answering) emails during you time off, wouldn't you expect to be authorized to - reasonably - organize your private life from the office in a fair give-and-take spirit? Second, and even more importantly, your customers, partners, competitors... are already on Facebook and Twitter: could enterprise really afford not being present because your sales, marketing, support and product management teams are stuck blind behind your firewalled fortress?

Finally the performance of business critical applications can be guaranteed with an autonomic networking traffic management solution as discussed several time in this WAN Governance blog: the network resource provided to SAP, Citrix and UCC applications will be automatically balanced to provide the right performance their importance for the business deserves, and this whatever the social media and Internet flow activity.

So why taking the risk to alienating customers, creating ineffective marketing strategies, demotivating staff and eliminating competitive edge by not embracing social media in the enterprise?


1 Ipanema and Easynet KillerApps 2012 survey. You can get the free white paper here.

1 Comment

I think that social media can be used in in our advantage if we stop thinking a little at the disadvantages that it has. Ryan Deiss told me to bring as much good as i can from everything and i must say that a little priority check can be good. I think that being informed means that you care about your business.

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