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While the opportunities are there, Singh said right now the idea of a social enterprise is still "super early" and while many customers aren't coming straight out and asking for it, they are wowed when shown a possibility they haven't considered.
Currently, Singh said roughly 80 percent to 90 percent of Appirio's customers are using Salesforce.com and Salesforce Chatter, the company's internal business social media network. A smaller percentage are using adjacent products that tie in social functionality. And another percentage are ready to make the leap to chatter and the discussion is happening.
"In three to four years things like Chatter will be like e-mail -- you don't need to make a business case for e-mail, you just get it," Singh said. The overall social revolution, however, may take a bit longer, Singh said, estimating a 7-year window for it to truly form, giving early leaders time to surface.
Among Appirio's customer-base, Singh said, roughly two thirds or so are really looking at collaboration and how they collaborate more efficiently and effectively, while about one third is looking to "supercharge products" to become more social.
"Marketwise, we're super early with social enterprise," Singh said. "But in our customers it's a very frequent conversation. Companies are asking: How can we use things like this internally? It's a confusing place where people are looking for clarity. But now they're convinced it's not science fiction."
Another opportunity the social sea change is creating for solution providers is the ability to tackle some of the business-to-consumer (B2C) market. Most providers typically dealt only in business to business, but a social enterprise that extends out to customers and consumers creates a B2C pipeline that many solution providers haven't had the opportunity to take advantage of.
"We love the idea of this giving us entree into another segment," he said. "This is a way of considerably leaping forward."
Corinne Sklar, vice president of marketing for New York solution provider Bluewolf, said the drive toward the social enterprise stems from the need for companies to step up collaboration capabilities.
"Everybody wants to increase collaboration. They want to understand how to do that," she said. "We're getting questions. It's all about the expanded, collaborative workforce."
The conversation with customers starts, Sklar said, with questions around internal collaboration, which leads to the question of external collaboration. And with all of those questions, Bluewolf has seen a jump in the number of assessments to determine clients' readiness for collaboration and more social capabilities.
Sklar said many of Bluewolf's long term Salesforce customers are ahead of the curve when it comes to social, newer customers are still testing the waters.
"Among long-term customers, more than 70 percent have engaged around social [technology]," she said, saying that the social enterprise jumped from hype to reality about a year ago.
NEXT: Solution Providers, Customers Get More Social