Inadequate leadership and an overemphasis on technology will cause 80% of enterprise social strategies to fail to provide the benefits they intended over the next two years, according to Gartner.
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Gartner said this is because, unlike traditional enterprise application implementations such as ERP, staff cannot be forced to harness social media.
Carol Rozwell, analyst at Gartner, said businesses need to understand this difference: "Traditional technology roll-outs, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM), followed a push paradigm.
"Workers were trained on an app and were then expected to use it. In contrast, social initiatives require a pull approach, one that engages workers and offers them a significantly better way to work.
"In most cases, they can't be forced to use social apps, they must opt in."
The executives responsible for social media strategies should not just be responsible for choosing the technology, but should focus on how social media can help the improve how people work and understand how people work now, who they work with and what their needs are.
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"There is too much focus on content and technology and not enough focus on leadership and relationships," said Rozwell.
"Leaders need to develop a social business strategy that makes sense for the organisation and tackle the tough organisational change work head-on and early.”
Gartner said that by 2016, 50% of large organisations will have internal Facebook-like social networks. The analyst house said 30% of these will be considered as essential as email and telephones are today.
It added that, in 2017, most new user-facing applications will have a mix of gamification, social and mobile fusion.