SOURCE: MIT Sloan Management Review

MIT Sloan Management Review

MIT Sloan Management Review

May 30, 2012 11:00 ET

C-Suite Executives Divided on Value of Social Business; Many Don't Yet Measure Impact, Says MIT Sloan Management Review-Deloitte Report

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwire - May 30, 2012) - A new global study by MIT Sloan Management Review (MIT SMR) and Deloitte identifies a difference of opinion within the executive suite on the value of social business. CEOs are nearly twice as likely as CIOs to view social collaboration tools as important to their business today (28 percent versus 15 percent), and only 14 percent of CFOs surveyed identify social tools as important. Interview data suggests that many CIOs struggle with an unarticulated vision for how they want to use social business corporate-wide.

While a clear vision and leadership are cited most frequently as critical to adoption of social software, the most common answer to the question -- how do you measure social software use? -- is: 'not measured.'

The study, released today in a report titled "Social Business: What Are Companies Really Doing?" finds that, despite the discrepancies, most managers do see the value in the present and future importance of social business. A majority of survey responders (52 percent) believe that social business is important or somewhat important to their business today. A total of 86 percent of responders believe social business will be important or somewhat important in three years.

The Social Business Global Executive Study by MIT SMR and Deloitte comprises a survey of more than 3,400 corporate leaders representing every major industry and region of the world and a series of in-depth interviews with experts and corporate practitioners from a range of disciplines and organizations.

"The gap between the need for leadership and the lack of metrics is a crucial one," said David Kiron, executive editor at MIT SMR and a coauthor of the report. "The lack of metrics means that those who wish to step up their leadership in social collaboration are without many of the traditional tools they would normally use to encourage and reward action."

"Social business provides tremendous opportunity for organizations to harness the power of emerging digital innovations to create value across the enterprise," said Doug Palmer, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and a coauthor of the report. "Our report identifies a significant opportunity for leading companies to stay ahead of the competition by building a social strategy backed by strong metrics for their social initiatives. This will keep them focused on the strategic initiatives that create and provide the most value for their organization."

Additionally, the report identifies several industry sectors where social business is thriving and divides them into two categories: entertainment, media and publishing (Media) and information technology (Tech). Eighty eight percent of managers surveyed in the Media industries believe their companies are open to new ideas and 68 percent consider themselves innovative. For Tech, it was 77 percent and 69 percent respectively, both higher than the average in other industries.

Media and Tech share other distinctive practices. Managers in these industries are more likely to say their companies are consistently creating or introducing new social business initiatives with customers and suppliers than managers in other industries. Moreover, they are much more likely to incorporate social data into their ERP systems than other industries. Marketing and IT departments in these industries are also above-average users of social software.

Other specific findings include:

  • Size matters: The largest organizations, those with over 100,000 employees, and the smallest organizations, those with less than 1,000 employees, tend to appreciate the value of social business today more than mid-sized organizations.
  • Business value: Respondents saw the most value in social software in the areas of "managing customer relationships" and "innovating for competitive differentiation."

For more details on the study's findings and interview transcripts, please visit the Social Business website.

To receive a copy of the special report or arrange an interview with one of the MIT SMR authors, please contact David Kiron at +1 617 253 8071 or

To arrange an interview with one of the Deloitte authors, please contact Marykate Reese at +1 203 708 4379 or or Sam Johnston at +1 212 885 0499 or

About the Social Business project

MIT SMR's Social Business project is a year-long research effort, in collaboration with Deloitte, to investigate the management implications of the rapidly evolving world of social business. Gathered through surveys and interviews, the research results provide executives insight into the social business landscape today and a framework to help realize value from social business investments.

About MIT Sloan Management Review

MIT Sloan Management Review leads the discourse among academic researchers, business executives and other influential thought leaders about advances in management practice that are transforming how people lead and innovate. MIT SMR disseminates new management research and innovative ideas so that thoughtful executives can capitalize on the opportunities generated by rapid organizational, technological and societal change.

About Deloitte's Technology Services practice and Social Business solutions

Deloitte helps organizations leverage technology to develop practical business solutions. From strategy through implementation, Deloitte takes a business-led, technology-enabled approach to help clients jump-start their social strategies with broad solutions. We work closely with leading social software vendors, giving us an insider's view of the evolving landscape. And we deliver integrated solutions that tap the full range of Deloitte's strategy, technology, human capital and risk management capabilities. Learn more about the offering.

As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

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