Consumer social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook were used by three-quarters of the 100 global firms surveyed by Cisco. Yet, only one in five had any policies in place governing use of social media tools and six in seven had no policies in place over deployment. This lack of governance leaves firms wide open to legal problems and abuse.
IT has so far taken a back seat in proceedings, with just 1 in 10 IT departments having any direct involvement in their firm's social media initiatives.
IT must now step up to the plate and lead their firms away using from consumer-based social networking tools to implementing enterprise-class tools with proper policies and controls in place.
Social media use was already unstoppable and had spread among the survey respondents beyond the expected areas of marketing and PR to other parts of the business, such as HR, customer service and sales. Smaller firms were found to have quickly recognised the power of social media and its ability to help them operate as if they were much larger players.
Research was carried out between April and September 2009 by the IESE Business School in Spain, E. Philip Saunders College of Business at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the US and Henley Business School in the UK.