Social software roll-outs will stay within departments, says Gartner

The use of social software in enterprises will grow primarily through departmental deployments, says Gartner.

The use of social software in enterprises will grow primarily through departmental deployments, says Gartner.

The analyst firm has published its "Predicts 2009: Social Software and Collaboration" report.

It says social networking sites, instant messaging clients and hosted e-mail have all had an impact on enterprise operations, but enterprise-wide implementations in large firms are unlikely for now.

"While most organisations are already using, piloting or investigating some social software technologies, there is reluctance in broadening them out to encompass full technology suites for all their users," said Gartner.

Although awareness, interest and willingness to deploy social software will continue to increase, several factors will prevent large organisations from investing in broad pre-integrated suites of social software functionality for use by all their employees, said Gartner.

Obstacles to large social software deployments include:

• More than two-thirds of suppliers with social software products have less than 50 employees, which limits their ability to support large enterprise-wide deployments. Larger suppliers tend to have less mature or complete products, which again will limit their suitability for large deployments.

• Uncertainties about business benefits and fears over the negative implications of losing control over people and content will be given more prominence as the scope and size of potential investments increases.

• Most organisations are content with piecemeal deployments of specific capabilities, and it will take time before more appreciate the complementarity between the components of a social software suite and in particular that between mechanisms for capturing user input and mechanisms for organising and filtering this input.

• Despite being successful, some initial deployments will have difficulties in transitioning to an enterprise-wide capability touching more people and more activities because of stricter enterprise requirements for flexibility and integration with existing systems.

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