Business.com: 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Study

BusinessCOM SM Report Business.com recently released their 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Study.   The objective of the study was to assess current trends in the use of social media in North American businesses.  

The results of the study were based on the 2,948 valid responses to Business.com’s survey during August and early September, 2009 and the report provides an interesting view into where businesses are finding value in social media across different activities and sites. 

The report is organized into two sections. The first section discusses how business people utilize social media today to find business-relevant information.  The second section covers corporate social media initiatives, benchmarking experience with social media for business (both respondent and company), top social media activities and how companies judge social media success today.

Highlights

Nearly 65% of respondents reported using social media as part of their normal work routine, including reading blogs, visiting business profiles on sites like Facebook or LinkedIn or using Twitter to find information and/or communicate about business-related matters

Among those using any form of social media to find business-relevant information, the most popular activity is attending webinars or listening to podcasts (69%) followed by reading  ratings/reviews for business products or services (62%). The least popular activities are saving business-related links on social bookmarking sites (28%) and participating in discussions on 3rd party web sites (29%).

Major Findings

  • Over 1900 participants in the study indicated that they work for a company involved in social media initiatives. 92% are directly involved in planning or managing these initiatives.
  • On average, these individuals spend 18% of their time in any given week working on these initiatives.
  • 71% of the companies surveyed have less than two years of experience with social media.
  • The average company in the study is currently involved in 7 different social media efforts.
  • Top activities include – maintaining company related accounts and profiles on social media sites (70%), followed by monitoring company-related mentions on social media sites (60%) and maintaining one or more company blogs (60%).
  • 66% of social media initiatives are driven by marketing, followed by 23% by customer support and 8% by product development departments.
  • On average, companies use four different metrics to measure their social media initiatives – web site traffic, engagement with prospects and customers, brand impact – basically awareness and reputation, quantity and quality of leads
  • 80% maintain a presence on Facebook.
  • 56% have a company account on Twitter.
  • A typical company in the study, maintains a presence on three different social media sites. 
  • 47% of companies in the study upload content to one or more content sharing sites. So, although they may have a profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube, some companies may not be regularly sharing content. Over commitment to many social media initiatives at any one time has been sited by numerous case studies as a driving factor behind poor social media performance.  
  • YouTube is the leading business content sharing site; used by 65% of those in the study that share content online.

Report’s Table of Contents

The report table of contents below can give you a feel for the type of information in the report:

  • Beyond Chatting with Friends: Social Media as a Business Resource
    • Who Uses Social Media as a Resource for Business Information?
    • Most Popular Social Media Resources for Business
  • Most Useful Social Media Resources for Business
  • Current State of Corporate Social Media Initiatives
    • Respondent and Company Experience with Business Social Media
    • Top Corporate Social Media Activitie
    • How Companies Judge Social Media Succes
    • Initiative Detail: Managing Business Profiles on Social Media Site
    • Initiative Detail: Participating in Q&A Site
    • Initiative Detail: Using Social Media Monitoring Tool
    • Initiative Detail: Sharing Business Content on Social Media Sites
    • Initiative Detail: Business Content Bookmarking on Social Media Sites

The full report can be downloaded via the following link:  http://www.business.com/info/business-social-media-benchmark-study

Gartner: Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2010

Last month, Gartner published its annual list of Top Strategic Technologies.   Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years.  Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.

The 2010 list they recently published goes like this…

  1. Cloud Computing
  2. Advanced Analytics
  3. Client Computing
  4. IT for Green
  5. Reshaping the Data Center
  6. Social Computing
  7. Security – Activity Monitoring
  8. Flash Memory
  9. Virtualization for Availability
  10. Mobile Applications

I found a pdf file of the Gartner presentation of these trends at this fmisociety.org URL (valid as of Nov. 23).  For more information, you can read the Gartner Press Release “Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2010” or check out the video below.

You can see the previous lists for 2009 and 2008

Seven Food Trends for 2010

PATT2008 I came across an article in FoodWeek Online that provided a list of top trends in food for 2010.  The article was written by Phil Lempert who authors a popular industry newsletter, Facts Figures & The Future

The article begins by pointing out that the economy has forced some new trends upon us all.  For example, people are eating more meals at home and that means we are evolving from food assemblers back to cooks.  We are also paying attention to prices more so we are willing to switch brands to save money.  In addition, people are more willing to search out new new store formats like Save-A-Lot, Grocery Outlet and Aldi in an attempt to save money.

The top trends indicated in the article include (my summary of the trend in italics)

  1. The Private Label Evolution.   Consumers are putting less value on the big brands as they realize they can get quality via private labels.  Look for more innovation in private label marketing.
  2. The 1960’s are Back!  This trend is all about reaching the 76 million baby boomers.
  3. Food Sense.   Increasingly, consumers want to know everything about what they are buying, and what they know is impacting their purchase decisions. 
  4. The Power of the Collective.   Social networks, word of mouth, and social tools/applications are increasingly becoming a big factor in purchase decisions.
  5. Cute & Cleavage is Out.  Food programming in the traditional broadcast media is trending back towards substance over glitz.
  6. Comfort Food Transforms into Relaxation Foods.  Look for a trend away from high energy and more towards ‘relaxation’ foods and beverages.
  7. Less is More.   Trend towards foods with a simpler list of ingredients on the label. 

You can read the full article at http://www.foodweek.com.au/main-features-page.aspx?articleType=ArticleView&articleId=5661

Friday Gadget – $6,000 Paro Robot

paro-robotic-healing-seal-1 Got $6,000?  Then perhaps you need the Paro.  Its a robot in the form of a cute plush-toy baby seal that has been designed to provide companionship and comfort for the elderly. The therapeutic robot, called Paro, includes a suite of sensors enabling it to respond to touch and to simple spoken greetings.   

The PARO robot is covered in pure white synthetic fur with built-in intelligence providing psychological, physiological, and social effects through physical interaction with humans.  Inside are two 32-bit CPUs, which can process voice recognition and imitate animal behavior, enabling PARO to develop its own character.  PARO has five different types of sensors over the body that allows it to perceive people and the environment, and respond to touch, light, sound, temperature, and posture.  With the light sensor, Paro can recognize light and dark. He feels being stroked and beaten by tactile sensor, or being held by the posture sensor. Paro can also recognize the direction of voice and words such as its name, greetings, and praise with its audio sensor.

More photos, videos, reviews, and additional background information are available at www.parorobots.com

TrendWatching: Ten Consumer Based Trends for 2010

Trendwatching is a service that has been in operation for a number of years. The service relies on input from all sorts of people (“spotters”) who send in ideas for trends.  Trendwatching turns all this input into a monthly ‘Trends Briefing” which they send out to 160,000 ‘subscribers’.  The company also has a ‘premium service’ where paying subscribers can get more detail on important trends.

Annually, Trendwatching publishes their list of 10 Consumer Trends for the coming year.   Here is the summary list of the 10 trends for 2010.  The summary of the trend is not my summary…it is directly from the Trendwatching site.  The links take you to more detail on each of the trend. 

1. Business As Unusual   Forget the recession: the societal changes that will dominate 2010 were set in motion way before we temporarily stared into the abyss.

2. Urbany   Urban culture is the culture. Extreme urbanization, in 2010, 2011, 2012 and far beyond will lead to more sophisticated and demanding consumers around the world.

3. Real-Time Reviews  Whatever it is you're selling or launching in 2010, it will be reviewed 'en masse', live, 24/7.

4. (F)Luxury  Closely tied to what constitutes status, which itself is becoming more fragmented, luxury will be whatever consumers want it to be over the next 12 months.

5. Mass Mingling   Online lifestyles are fueling 'real world' meet-ups like there's no tomorrow, shattering all predictions about a desk-bound, virtual, isolated future.

6. Eco-Easy   To really reach some meaningful sustainability goals in 2010, corporates and governments will have to forcefully make it 'easy' for consumers to be more green, by restricting the alternatives.

7. Tracking & Alerting   Tracking and alerting are the new search, and 2010 will see countless new INFOLUST services that will help consumers expand their web of control.

8. Embedded Generosity  Next year, generosity as a trend will adapt to the zeitgeist, leading to more pragmatic and collaborative donation services for consumers.

9. Profile Myning With hundreds of millions of consumers now nurturing some sort of online profile, 2010 will be a good year to help them make the most of it (financially), from intention-based models to digital afterlife services.

10. Maturlism 2010 will be even more opinionated, risque, outspoken, if not 'raw' than 2009; you can thank the anything-goes online world for that. Will your brand be as daring?

You can read the full briefing on these 2010 trends at Trendwatching.com's 2010 Consumer Trend briefing.   For last year’s list, check out Trendwatching: Six Consumer Trends for 2009.

Trendwatching.com  can be an annoying site as it is rather splashy with bold colors, pictures all over, and fancy names for trends.  However, underneath all that are usually some important trends.  You just have to do some reading and thinking about each trend to come up with your own opinions.

IBM Scientists Reinvent Point of Care Diagnostic Testing

IBM scientists have created a one-step point-of-care-diagnostic test based on an innovative silicon chip that is easy to use and can test for many diseases, including cardiovascular disease. The results are so quick and accurate that a small sample of a patient's serum or blood, could be tested immediately following a heart attack, to enable the doctor to quickly take a course of action and to predict the patient's survival rate. 

IBM scientists have encoded the forces of capillary action on a microfluidic chip made of a silicon compound, similar to those used in computer chips, thus leveraging IBM's vast experience in developing and manufacturing silicon semiconductor wafers. The chip, which measures 1 × 5 centimeters, contains sets of micrometer wide channels where the test sample flows through in approximately 15 seconds, several times faster then traditional tests.   Uniquely, the filling speed can be adjusted to several minutes when the chip requires additional time to read a more complex disease marker.

You can check out the full story here http://www.zurich.ibm.com/news/09/lab_on_a_chip.html

Pew Internet: Adults on Social Network Sites, 2005-2009

According to an October 2009 Pew Internet report titled The Democratization of Online Social Networks, 46% of online American adults 18 and older use a social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, or LinkedIn.  This is up from 8% in February 2005.

Highlights of the report include:

  • 79% of American adults used the internet in 2009, up from 67% in Feb. 2005
  • 46% of online American adults 18 and older use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 8% in February 2005.
  • 65% of teens 12-17 use online social networks as of Feb 2008, up from 58% in 2007 and 55% in 2006.
  • As of August 2009, Facebook was the most popular online social network for American adults 18 and older.

Of adult SNS users:

  • 73% have a Facebook account
  • 48% have a MySpace profile
  • 14% have an account on LinkedIn
  • 1% each on Yahoo, YouTube, Tagged, Flickr and Classmates.com
  • 10-12% are on “other” sites like Bebo, Last.FM, Digg, Blackplanet, Orkut, Hi5 and Match.com

Read more in Amanda Lenhart's presentation, which is available for download on Slideshare.

Verizon: Top Ten Business Technology Trends For 2010

verizon-logo-470x3101 Verizon (www.verizonbusiness.com)  recently published its annual list of 10 business technology trends that it says will help companies grow their business in 2010.  While the list highlights the markets that Verizon plays in, the technologies are certainly ones that we should be watching.

Here’s a summary of Verizon Business’ list of 10 hot trends that will help move business forward in 2010 (my summary of the trend in italics):

  1. Enterprise Social Networking.   Social networking integrated into enterprise unified communications and collaboration strategies.  
  2. Aiming for the ‘Clouds’.  Cloud computing adoption continues, making IT more efficient and businesses more agile.
  3. 360 Security.  A trend towards applying security wherever data happens to be at the moment 
  4. Mobilizing the Workforce:  From Telework to Telepresence.  Companies to accelerate deployment of mobile apps to help spur productivity and innovation.
  5. Borderless Business.  Extending enterprise services and apps to employees, customers, suppliers and partners.
  6. High IQ Networks Fueling a Smart Economy.   Trend towards smarter networks will allow companies to allocate resources where and when needed.
  7. The Focus Will Be on Green.   The green trend continues to and will increasingly impact the way consumers and businesses make decisions.
  8. Seeing Is Believing.  Video is increasingly being used as a business tool to conduct meetings and deliver real-time content.
  9. More Wireless Apps, Especially Machine to Machine.   Wireless apps enable machines to communicate with each other and make “smart” decisions without human intervention. 
  10. 20/20 Vision.  Verizon ends with a very generic trend that says businesses will make better decisions in 2010 that will fuel their future growth.

For the full report, including video, audio podcasts and other related online resources, visit: http://www.verizonbusiness.com/go/2010_trends

For Verizon’s 2009 top trends list, check out my blog post Verizon: 2009 Top 10 Tech Trends

Six Social Media Trends for 2010

untitled David Armano recently provided a post on his personal blog, Logic "+ Emotion, that he titled:  Six Social Media Trends for 2010.  Armano is part of the founding team at Dachis Group, an Austin based consultancy delivering social business design services. 

Armano lists the six most important social media trends for 2010 as:

  1. Social media begins to look less social. 
  2. Corporations look to scale.
  3. Social business becomes serious play. 
  4. Your company will have a social media policy (and it might actually be enforced).
  5. Mobile becomes a social media lifeline. 
  6. Sharing no longer means e-mail. 

You can check out Armano’s full “Six Social Media Trends for 2010” blog post at  http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2009/11/social.html

Friday Gadget: The Recon Scout Rescue Miniature, Mobile Reconnaissance Device

Here’s a simple looking device with a wireless-transmitting camera that can go where people can’t…or where it is safe to go.

TheRecon Scout Recon Scout® Rescue is a miniature, mobile reconnaissance device that will add greater safety and speed to search and rescue and hazmat operations. According to the company, using it requires no special training, making it a great for firefighters, disaster responders, and public safety professionals.

For example, a firefighter using would just pull the activation pin and throw the device through a doorway or over a wall, or drop it down a vertical shaft using a tether.   Then by using a joystick on a handheld control, the firefighter can then direct the device to move through.   Equipped with an infrared optical system that automatically turns on when the ambient light is low, the Rescue can see in complete darkness and can transmit video up to 100 feet indoors and 300 feet outdoors.  Additional accessories allow it to transmit video to an incident command post that can be located up to 1,000 feet away.

The performance characteristics of the Recon Scout Rescue make it ideally suited to this task:

  • The Recon Scout Rescue is just seven inches long and weighs just one pound, making it extremely easy to carry and throw.
  • Deploying the Rescue takes less than 15 seconds and requires no special training.
  • The device is equipped with sophisticated infrared optical systems that can see in complete darkness and automatically turn on when the ambient light is low.
  • The Rescue transmits clear, crisp video through walls and debris up to 100 feet to a handheld Operator Control Unit (OCU) or up to 1,000 feet to a Command Monitoring Station.
  • The device can withstand throws of 120 feet and it can be tossed through windows or doors, over walls, or down a flight of stairs.
  • It can also be dropped down a vertical shaft or into a void using a provided tether.

I am thinking future version of these devices can be fitted with all types of sensors to measure things like temperature, air quality, water quality, etc.

Check out more on the website http://www.recon-scout.com

Gartner Announces The “IT Market Clock” To Help Companies Prioritize IT Investments

Gartner, Inc (http://www.gartner.com) recently announced it’s IT Market Clock decision framework it says will assist IT and business leaders manage their portfolio of IT assets and activities throughout the entire asset life cycle. 

The IT Market Clock has been developed to be complementary to Gartner’s famous Hype Cycles.  The Hype Cycles help us all understand where individual technologies are in the adoption cycle, by displaying those technologies on a curve (e.g. hype cycle curve) from their first appearance to mainstream maturity.   The newly announced IT Market Clock will help monitor the progress of IT technologies from the time they first become viable to deploy and use, to the time when Gartner says it’s time to retire those assets.

You can view the IT Market Cloud below via the SlideShare embed (For a download of the slide, double click on the embed).

Gartner IT Market Clock

View more presentations from Gartner.

The IT market clock uses a clock-face image to represent relative “market time” and how technology assets are positioned based on their progress through their market life cycles and commoditization levels.  Assets start at 0 and move clockwise around to 12 o’clock. The clock face has four quarters, each representing one phase of IT market life and each suggesting how IT leaders should respond.  The four quarters of the clock are labled:

  • Advantage — From 12:00 to 3:00, means this is a new asset.  The product or service has little or no competition.  This would be like a First of a Kind  or customized solutions.  Skill and experience levels are low and could be costly.
  • Choice — From 3:00 to 6:00, during which time the market typically moves from adolescence to early mainstream. This is the phase of highest demand growth, during which supply options should grow and prices fall at their fastest rate.
  • Cost — From 6:00 to 9:00, here the market for this technology is moving towards mature mainstream. Gartner says that commoditization sets in and costs will be the strongest motivator in most procurement decisions.
  • Replacement — From 9:00 to 12:00, Gartner says the market is moving through legacy and to "market end".  The technology is nearing the end of its useful life. Procurement and operating costs will steadily rise and organizations need a replacement strategy.

It will be interesting to see if this framework takes hold and becomes as popular as the Gartner Hype Cycles.  For more on Gartner’s IT Market Clock, dowload this pdf:  Introducing the Gartner IT Market Clock.

Forrester’s Top 15 Technology Trends For Enterprise Architects To Watch

Forrester_logo

Last month, Forrester published a report The Top 15 Technology Trends EA Should Watch that listed 15 technologies with the greatest potential for business impact over the next three years.   The report was presented on a November 4 conference call by two Forrester VPs, Alex Cullen and Gene Leganza. 

Forrester opened up the presentation by discussing the reasons why companies need to monitor new and changing technologies.  Simply said, IT organizations need to understand how changes in technology will impact IT and business operations, both short-term and long-term.

To come up with the list of 15 technologies, Forrester used three criteria during the selection process.

  • Impact on the Business and/or IT Operating Model
  • Newness of the Technology, which translates into lack of understanding/experience
  • Complexity of the Technology, which can minimize ability to leverage the technology or can translate into risk of failure

Forrester grouped the list of 15 into five major themes.  Here is the list of 15 below.

Theme No. 1: Social Computing In And Around The Enterprise.  The social computing trend will have a huge impact on business…as it is having in our personal lives

    1. Collaboration platforms become people-centric
    2. Customer community platforms integrate with business apps
    3. Tele-presence gains widespread use

Theme No. 2: Process-Centric Data And Intelligence.  This theme emphasizes the shift from batch analytics to real-time business analytics.

    1. Business Intelligence goes real-time
    2. Master data management matures
    3. Data quality services become real-time

Theme No. 3: Restructured IT Service Platforms.  This theme is about providing greater scalability and flexibility while reducing support costs.

    1. Sass Will be ubiquitous for packaged apps
    2. Cloud-based platforms become standard infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service
    3. Client virtualization is ubiquitous

Theme No. 4: Agile And Fit-To-Purpose Applications.  This theme signals that improving a firm's application flexibility is getting easier for EAs

    1. Business rules processing moves to the mainstream
    2. BPM will be the Web-2.0-enabled
    3. Policy-based SOA becomes predominant
    4. Security will be data-and content-based

Theme No. 5: Mobile As The New Desktop.   During the next three years, mobile computing will expand dramatically as a business platform.

    1. Apps and business processes go mobile
    2. Mobile networks and devices gain more power

The list above (especially the themes) really hit home with me.  I like the list and plan on using this list as input into my 2010 Trends report I'll be delivering in January.

For more information, you can