Social business software users reported a nearly 40 percent increase in "employee connectedness," while 42 percent reported a boost in communication with customers.
The findings stem from a survey social business software vendor Jive Software commissioned of 500 people in more than 300 Jive customer companies in worldwide in December. These businesses spanned high-tech, financial services, communications and health care, and other industries
Enterprise social software includes blogs, wikis, communities, forums, RSS feeds, bookmarks and other tools that help knowledge workers communicate and collaborate with each other and, often, customers.
Jive's reference to "employee connectedness" is presumably a measure of how easy it is for colleagues to not only stay in touch with each other using social software tools but reach other people across a large enterprise.
That's the purpose of software products such as Jive's Engage platform, which rolls collaboration software, community software, and social media monitoring tools in one.
Jive competes with standalone players Mindtouch and Socialtext in this arena, though all of these players look up to IBM, whose Lotus Connections is a solid entrant from a company with credible clout in the enterprise.
What's interesting about Jive's report is the timing; Jive released the report Jan. 31, which is when IBM's Lotusphere event kicked off.
Social software was a core theme at Lotusphere, where IBM unveiled the Social Business Framework. This includes "Activity Stream," a single location that allows users to view and interact with content from Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, SAP and other third parties alongside their company's content.
Undaunted, Jive is girding for an initial public offering this year under new CEO Tony Zingale. This follows the $30 million in funding from Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins last July.
Jive's study, a marketing move to bolster the IPO also found that social software led to:
32 percent more ideas generated and captured
30 percent in employee satisfaction
27 percent less email
32 percent reduction in time to find answers
37 percent increase in project collaboration and productivity
31 percent increase in customer retention
34 percent higher brand awareness
28 percent decrease in support call volume
34 percent more feedback and ideas from customers
27 percent increase in new customer sales
"Our customers' feedback clearly indicates that social business has a material impact on business performance," said Zingale in a statement. "We expect 2011 to be an inflection point for mainstream adoption in the enterprise, as customers continue to see accelerated returns from their investments."
Gartner Research supports this theory. The researcher said in December the worldwide market for enterprise social software will top $769 million in 2011, up 15.7 percent from the $664 million spent in 2010.
At the current compound annual growth rate, ESS sales should reach the $1 billion mark by the end of 2012. In other words, plenty of pie for IBM, Jive, Socialtext, Mindtouch and the hundreds of other social software makers dotting the high-tech horizon.