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But according to recent findings from Bluewolf, many businesses recognize the need to be social, but there are still concerns to be hashed out before they make the social leap.
A recent survey conducted by Bluewolf earlier this year shows that companies are getting serious about going social and creating opportunities for solution providers to take an active role in that transformation. According to the survey, 61 percent of respondents said social media is a high priority for their company, 36 percent are taking a wait and see approach and 3 percent have no social plans. Meanwhile, 60 percent of companies said every business needs to be a social enterprise; 34 percent said many businesses should be social, but not all; but 6 percent said it's not essential for any business to be a social enterprise.
Additionally, 56 percent of businesses polled said they allow employees access to external social networks during work hours; 48 percent track company-related link sharing and mentions on the Web and social networks; 40 percent support social media internally; and 7 percent do none of those things. Further, 65 percent are eying social tools to communicate with partners and stakeholders, 48 percent want to track company-related discussions on the Web and social networks and 42 percent want to offer a private internal social network for employees.
There are still hang-ups, however. Bluewolf found management and ownership of social media are major concerns for 58 percent of respondents, along with employing proper metrics and proving value, 54 percent, and loss of productivity, 27 percent. Yet 52 percent are extremely confident in investing in social media and experiencing positive results; while 35 percent are somewhat confident and 9 percent are not confident.
Sklar said the key to a successful social enterprise is the people. "How do you get people to start thinking collaboratively?" she said.
For its part, Salesforce is priming partners to attack the social enterprise now. With ISVs as the lynchpin, Salesforce is putting programs and opportunities in place to get the social ball rolling.
"Our ISVs have been dealing with the vision of the social enterprise since before it every really existed," Salesforce Senior Vice President of Global ISV Alliances Ron Huddleston said.
There are various partner opportunities around social enterprise, Huddleston said. Distributors can take packaged social enterprise offerings to market; a new category called Saaggregators (SaaS aggregators) can deliver it to customers; more traditional VARs can partner with ISVs; and systems integrators can tie everything together.
"There's an opportunity to create new solutions," he said. "The social enterprise is the future of cloud computing."