While social maturity may be lagging, perceived importance of social business is mounting, according to the results of MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte’s second annual global survey of more than 2,500 business executives on social business.
The report, "Social Business: Shifting Out of First Gear," found that when asked to rank their company’s social business maturity on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest score, more than half (52 percent) of respondents from around the world gave their company a score of 3 or below. Just 17 percent ranked their company at 7 or above.
The report also indicated that 36 percent of respondents called social business "important" compared to just 18 percent last year. This increase in importance is reported across many industry sectors, and the report said this was due to three major culprits halting progress in social maturity, including a lack of an overall strategy (28 percent of respondents), too many competing priorities (26 percent) and lack of a demonstrated business case or strong value proposition (21 percent).
"Overcoming these barriers requires strong executive leadership," David Kiron, executive editor for MIT Sloan Management Review, said in a statement. "Companies that are generating value with social business tend to have leaders who have helped get these capabilities applied to important business problems, a process that can very often change the way people work."
The study also takes a closer look at companies with a higher social business maturity level and identifies specific elements of success. It found businesses with more developed capabilities do not view social business solely as an application or a tool, but rather social business is integrated into functions across the company, such as strategy ad operations and the daily decision-making process.
Among businesses with a higher social maturity level, 65 percent use social business tools to understand market shift, 45 percent turn to it to improve visibility into operations, and another 45 percent of mature companies leverage it to identify internal talent.
The study also found that more than 70 percent of chief executive officers (CEOs), chief information officers (CIOs) and chief marketing officers (CMOs) believe that social business is an opportunity to fundamentally change the working dynamics. Chief digital officers are also entering into the C-suite to guide digital strategies and manage content. As such, the report noted that the "traditional" roles and interactions of the CEO, CIO, CMO and now chief digital officers are changing, which in turn opens up opportunities for new ways to collaborate more effectively.
"Regardless of the specific C-suite role, our study identifies steps that leaders can take on the path to social maturity," Doug Palmer, a principal with Deloitte Consulting and a co-author of the report, said in a statement. "Strategic leadership remains important in the process and creates greater value."