When the gatekeepers at Gartner nominate something as "strategic", you know it's finally hit the big time. And according to top analysts at Gartner's recent symposium, various forms of social are on the list of strategic technologies for enterprise CIOs. From the press release (click the link for the full list):
Social Communications and Collaboration. Social media can be divided into: (1) Social networking social profile management products, such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and Friendster as well as social networking analysis (SNA) technologies that employ algorithms to understand and utilize human relationships for the discovery of people and expertise. (2) Social collaboration technologies, such as wikis, blogs, instant messaging, collaborative office, and crowdsourcing. (3) Social publishing technologies that assist communities in pooling individual content into a usable and community accessible content repository such as YouTube and flickr. (4) Social feedback - gaining feedback and opinion from the community on specific items as witnessed on YouTube, flickr, Digg, Del.icio.us, and Amazon. Gartner predicts that by 2016, social technologies will be integrated with most business applications. Companies should bring together their social CRM, internal communications and collaboration, and public social site initiatives into a coordinated strategy.
In addition, Gartner highlights "social analytics" as another must-evaluate for CIOs:
Social Analytics. Social analytics describes the process of measuring, analyzing and nterpreting the results of interactions and associations among people, topics and ideas. These interactions may occur on social software applications used in the workplace, in internally or externally facing communities or on the social web. Social analytics is an umbrella term that includes a number of specialized analysis techniques such as social filtering, social-network analysis, sentiment analysis and social-media analytics. Social network analysis tools are useful for examining social structure and interdependencies as well as the work patterns of individuals, groups or organizations. Social network analysis involves collecting data from multiple sources, identifying relationships, and evaluating the impact, quality or effectiveness of a relationship.
Although I disagree with some of the definitions they use, I definitely agree with the conclusions, as they correspond to my own analysis (see past posts for details), especially the trend towards integrating social into other business applications -- once social goes from standalone to integrated, it's usefulness will be off the charts.
And now that the concepts have been blessed by the wizards at Gartner as "strategic investments", I'm sure that more CIOs will be wondering how to make "strategic social" work.