Earlier this year I ran a survey looking at the uses of social media and enterprise collaboration tools in a project environment. Thank you, if you participated. I had responses from 32 countries and nearly 250 people, so I was very pleased with the breadth of data I was able to gather.
I did have a couple of people contact me to say that they didn’t believe social media tools had a place in project management. The survey bears that out – to some degree. More people aren’t using social media at work than are. But those that are get some benefit from it.
The range of tools in use across organisations show that both large and small corporations are adopting social media and enterprise collaboration tools. From Google Docs to Basecamp, Yammer to Ning, respondents named over 40 tools they used both personally and professionally. The most widely used tool for business purposes was Microsoft SharePoint, with 48% of respondents saying they use that in the workplace. It was closely followed by LinkedIn, which is not surprising given that 86% of respondents said that use social media tools to stay in touch with colleagues. Instant messaging tools were also popular for work and personal use, with 80% reporting they used these.
53% of survey respondents carry out meetings online. 49% use social media tools for project status updates and 43% said they manage their project team with social media tools.
The survey did highlight the fact that companies are not doing enough to quantify the benefits of using social media tools in the workplace. Although 62% of respondents believe that the use of social media and enterprise collaboration tools have given them efficiency benefits in the form of improved communication, 10% say their companies have realised no financial benefits at all. Over a third of companies are not tracking financial benefits and a quarter of companies are not tracking efficiency benefits either.
The lack of interest in benefits implies that the 46% of companies who have formally adopted social media and enterprise collaboration tools have taken a punt on the fact that they will receive some kind of pay-off for the effort involved in implementing new technology. Project managers agree that there are benefits to be had, with 82% feeling that social media and enterprise collaboration tools can/do improve the way they manage their projects. It seems as if companies are unwilling or unable to work out how to measure the benefits, which is perhaps an enlightened approach – after all, who measured the benefits of text messaging or email?
If you’re interested in reading more from the survey, you can download a .pdf of the results here.