The market for enterprise social networking products, such as KickApps, Passenger and hi5, could reach $2bn by 2012, according to recent research.
Analyst firm IDC said that the internal and external use of social networks by enterprises is maximising the business benefits of tapping into online communities.
"These communities are extremely good at prioritising information," said Rachel Happe, research manager for digital business economy at IDC.
"If a community sees an idea and thinks it's really exciting, and everybody starts participating in it, the company can recognise that this is something that maybe they should spend a few resources investigating."
Happe cited the case of Dell which embraced social networking technology last year to canvass customers on the demand for Linux-based PCs.
Following positive feedback from its IdeaStorm social networking site, the PC manufacturer decided to offer systems running the open source operating system.
Happe also singled out the benefits of social networking in enterprises that had recently undergone mergers.
Human resources departments are proving increasingly adept at using social networks to assimilate employees attempting to adjust to an unfamiliar corporate culture, according to the analyst.
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