Social business moving beyond experimentation but still "heating up"

17th Feb 2012

Social business still has a long way to mature with only the most advanced companies operating holistically, according to research.

In a new blog post from Jeremiah Owyang discussing research from Altimeter Group, he explains that although most businesses are past the experimentation stage, they’re yet to think bigger than campaigns when it comes to social business.

Many companies are still not intergrating across business units, products and customer databases, he says, and the social business space is "just heating up".  

The study surveyed 143 business, all employing over 1,000 staff, and showed 56% are in the intermediate stage, 30% are novices and only 12% in the market are advanced.  

The traditional path of evolution starts in marketing, followed by customer support (addressing customer complaints online), followed by product teams (involving customer feedback and co-creation) before low level adoption begins in the partner ecosystem and supply chain.

"One sign of an advanced company is the ability to integrate customer feedback into the product roadmap," says Owyang. "We know this is a sign of maturity as it requires both vertical approval from executives and broad approval across product lines and beyond – it’s often against the culture of many engineering groups."

The analyst explains that an advanced company is determined by the following criteria:

  • Nearly all employees are using social in a safe and organised way (called 'holistic').
  • Data is aggregated from multiple locations and the company is able to predict and anticipate what customers are going to do.
  • They stop using the term ‘social business’ and just use the term ‘business’ as this integrates into their normal digital communication.

Additionally, Jeremiah’s earlier blog post from 2010 provides 10 criteria to measure if your social business is mature. 


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By luke winter
20th Feb 2012 19:12


Excellent post. I’ve heard it that many implementations of Social Business are still “far from mature”, but i much prefer the metaphore “heating up” - a lot more positive, sounds a lot less like a value judgement. Thanks for the inspiration, hope you don’t mind if i borrow that phraseology for the future!

Luke Winter
Community Manager

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