IT should assign a group to keep watch of societal trends as social factors become increasingly important in business and commercial systems, according to new research from analyst Gartner.
The report said the group should review all staff systems and working practices.
Firms should then use the information they gather to solve business and government problems in “new ways” and to conduct an opportunity or threat analysis to identify any gains enabled by the connected society, it said.
“In activities such as marketing it is valuable to find and spend effort on several key influences that are trusted information sources used by other network participants,” said Scott Nelson, managing vice president at Gartner and author of the report.
“Companies should work the network and find out where their customers and potential employees are making decisions,” he added.
Nelson said that many firms wait until a societal trend has already taken off before they try and react. “Slowness to respond can cost firms incredibly large sums of money and may drive them out of business all together,” he added.
Nelson predicted that by the end of 2010, 15 per cent of US and European businesses will have societal trend watchers in place.
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