Deloitte’s Research on Social Networking and Communities

Deloitte recently published the results of a research study to understand better how enterprises are leveraging online communities.  They call this their "Tribalization of Business" study.  The study involved more than 100 companies with revenues of $1 million to more than $40 billion.

The study found that a number of enterprises are actively using online communities and social networking tools to engage with employees, customers and partners in brainstorming, idea generation and product development.   The findings in the study also identified key success factors and obstacles to effective community development. 

Key Findings

  • Why Communities?  The study found that people join communities to help others.  They also join to seek information, recommendations and community feedback on projects of interest to them.  39% said “idea generation” is the main purpose of their online communities while 19 % cited “new product development” as the key goal.
  • Openeness:  60% said their communities are open for public interaction and feedback.
  • Success Factors:  53% said that permitting users to connect with like-minded people was the top feature contributing to success, and 43 % said that permitting people to help one another was the second-most-important feature contributing to community success
  • Obstacles:  45% said that finding enough time to manage the community is one of the biggest obstacles to making communities work. 
  • Effectiveness:  Poor management of online communities is a critical barrier to their effectiveness.  Facilitation (25%) and quality of the community manager (34%) are two features that greatly impact the community’s effectiveness.
  • Responsibility:  The CMO is increasingly responsible for the development and implementation of communities.  The CMO often becomes the lead transformation agent, empowering the sales, customer service and product development functions with the community’s intelligence and participation.   42% percent indicate that the marketing organization is now responsible for driving online communities.

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