Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Facebook: Measuring the cost to business of social networking

Much attention has been given to social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook, and a number of CRM and ERP vendors have rushed to integrate their applications with social networks, but what is their impact on productivity and where do they fit in a business environment? To explore the business productivity impact of Facebook, Nucleus interviewed 237 randomly selected office workers about their use of Facebook and found:

-- Seventy-seven percent of workers have a Facebook account.

-- Of those workers with Facebook accounts, nearly two-thirds access Facebook during working hours.Those who access Facebook at work do so for an average of 15 minute each day.

--Eighty-seven percent of those who access Facebook at work couldn’t define a clear business reason for using it.

--Of those who do access Facebook at work, 6 percent never access Facebook anywhere else — meaning one in every 33 workers built their entire Facebook profile during work hours.

As social networking sites grow in popularity, companies need to understand the cost in productivity from accessing these sites. Although industry pundits may tout Web 2.0 and social networking as the next big thing, when asked to actually identify business uses for Facebook, Nucleus found that few employees could point to a true business reason. In some cases a specific business benefit may outweigh the general productivity loss, but the business case hasn’t yet been made for broad business user adoption. Companies should evaluate their Facebook policy and the cost to the organization in allowing access to Facebook, as today blocking Facebook may actually result in a 1.5 percent gain in productivity.

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