©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.
One of the interesting but (so far) often unnoticed aspects of the social media boom is the rapid growth of proprietary social networks established by businesses to facilitate online collaboration. While still a relatively small subset of the social universe, “enterprise” social media is expanding at a double-digit pace according to Gartner, which sees worldwide spending on enterprise social media software jumping 14.9% from $578.2 million in 2009 to $664 million in 2010. Looking ahead, Gartner sees spending on enterprise social media software increasing another 15.7% to $769.2 million in 2011.
Tom Eid, research vice president at Gartner, noted “the demand for flexible environments in which participants can connect, create, share and find people and information relevant to their work,” as well as the obvious benefits of maintaining a customer-facing social media presence. At the same time, proprietary social networks offer businesses more security, management and compliance features than consumer-oriented sites like Facebook and Twitter, according to InternetNews.com, which cited the example of Salesforce.com using a Twitter analogue called Chatter.