A study released today by Cisco shows that many organisations are using social networking sites to generate new leads for business, but that the involvement of IT departments in such initiatives remains limited.
Some 75 per cent of the respondents surveyed from 20 countries said that they had identified social networks as their primary social media tool, while 50 per cent identified micro-blogging as another tool they were using extensively.
The report also indicated that small and medium sized enterprises are the most active users of social services for generating leads, but that larger companies are still to fully utilise the benefits of social media channels for this purpose.
However, only one in seven firms had formal processes in place associated with the use of social networking sites for business purposes, indicating that organisations have still to determine who should be in charge of social media strategies.
Only one in 10 respondents noted direct IT involvement in social networking initiatives, while others reported that copying governance processes from areas like IT do not transfer to social media sites, leaving the management of such areas undefined.
Another key problem for businesses is the difficulty in striking the right balance between the social and personal tone required for such sites, while maintaining some degree of corporate oversight.
Nick Earle, senior vice president for Cisco services, argued that it is important for companies to harness the benefits of social media through a collaborative IT architecture, but in a way that mitigates the numerous threats that can be found on such sites.
"The rise of the connected consumer is driving a market shift in the enterprise, creating a 'people-powered business' where social networking tools and collaborative technologies are the propeller of the next-generation of productivity, and bringing about a fundamentally different leadership model," he said.
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