Avanade warns against ignoring social media tools

While Canadian companies are fully aware that social media tools can improve customer service and increase sales, such tools continue to remain absent in the business space, suggests a new study commissioned by global IT consultancy Avanade.

According to the survey, “Sixty-eight per cent of Canadian companies view social networking as the next step in collaborative activities and technology for a business…Approximately 40 per cent of Canadian companies fear that they will lose customers to companies that are embracing the use of social networking technology.”

Roughly 78 per cent of Canadian companies surveyed believe social media tools are beneficial for improving feedback and reducing customer support time; 89 per cent feel such tools create the perception of a positive, forward-looking company.

Canadian companies also feel that social media tools will inevitably enter the workplace, whether welcomed or not. Of the companies surveyed, 87 per cent agree they will be “forced to increase the use of social networking media and technology” in order to meet the needs of younger employees. And 83 per cent say social networking, if not proactively managed, will “come into the business by stealth.”

Yet companies continue to resist incorporating them into the workplace. “Most companies have no formal plans to manage the adoption of social media (such as instant messaging, blogs, wikis and social networking) or leverage its benefits,” the survey reports. Only 16 per cent of Canadian companies “have a fully implemented strategy for integrating social computing for employees.”

Security (83 per cent), apathy (50 per cent) and unproven technology (61 per cent) are the top three reasons Canadian companies are resisting social media tools, according to St