Internal collaboration within enterprises drives greater benefits from public social media investments

By Satya Ramaswamy

Since 2010, 64% of enterprises(1) have assigned at least one full-time equivalent (FTE) to use public social networks – such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Despite investment, only about 10% of enterprises have generated significant improvements (2) in multiple areas of their business. Marketing most often (3) owns social media; but only 42% of enterprises say their organizational structure for social media is effective or highly effective. Leaders (4) in social media invest in producing their own digital content; 81% have corporate blogs, 77% have mobile apps for consumers who use social media, and 61% have online video channels.

Only 10% of enterprises are realizing significant improvements to their business as a result of social media investments. Despite the hype and increased investments, it seems that enterprises are still struggling to make the most of social media according to a global trend report published recently by Tata Consultancy Services.

Entitled Mastering Digital Feedback: How the best consumer companies use social media, the research shows that while social media is being taken seriously by most enterprises – more than two thirds have at least one FTE committed to social media, and the average company will spend $19 million on it and employ 56 people – significant benefits are not being achieved most commonly due to information not reaching the right functions.

Despite ready availability of digitized consumer-to-consumer interactions in social media, its use by companies is today largely limited to being a mechanism for B2C marketing. It is time enterprises took a multi-layered approach to social media and learnt to harness its power across the enterprise in critical revenue drivers such as new product design by incorporating feedback from social media in these important business functions. Breaking down the organizational silos is key to realizing the full power of social media. In other words, organizations need to be social and share internally to really use the power of social media externally.

Other significant findings from the research were:

• Only 27% of R&D/product development and 37% of product management departments regularly view social media comments from consumers. This is partly because social media activity is most commonly owned by marketing, customer services and sales. The result of siloed ownership is that only 42% of enterprises view their organizational structure for social media activities as effective or highly effective.

• Leaders spend an average of $28 million on social media activity; twice as much as laggards (5). Leaders also go beyond just having company pages on social networks; 81% have corporate blogs, 77% have mobile apps for consumers who use social media, and 61% have online video channels.

• Despite only a small percentage of enterprises seeing significant business benefits, businesses are often getting a positive ROI for social media activity, 38%; that is more than double the number of companies with a negative ROI. However, 44% of enterprises have not measured ROI at all.

• The media and entertainment industry has the highest percentage of companies that have been using social media the longest to engage with consumers; most insurance companies are relatively new to social media.

• Maturity correlates with how effective enterprises are at breaking down siloes, a key factor in successful social media activity. Media and entertainment enterprises are least likely to centralize activity; whereas new comers to social media like travel, high-tech and telecoms enterprises are most likely to decentralize their social media activity.

The TCS Global Trend Report on social media surveyed 655 enterprises globally with average revenues of $15.6 billion and is the fourth TCS global trend report in the series.


This TCS Global Trend Report explores how 11 global consumer industries and large companies in the world’s four largest economic regions are using social media. ResearchNow surveyed 655 respondents from mostly $1 billion+ consumer companies in June and July 2013, the average revenue of which was $15.6 billion (median of $4.9 billion). They came from 11 global industries.

1 Average revenue of $15.6 billion; a median of $4.9 billion.

2 The way they market, sell, provide customer service after the sale, develop new products and services, and identify and make corrections to their current offerings, to name a few.

3 In about one-third of companies, marketing controls social media activities – a much higher percentage than any other function.

4 Respondents whose answers to a question asking them to evaluate the benefits they’ve achieved in 16 domains (marketing, sales, service, product innovation and others) put them in the top third in terms of total benefits.

5 Respondents whose total benefits in the 16 areas landed them in the bottom third of benefits achieved.

About the author and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS)

Satya Ramaswamy is Vice President and Global Head of TCS Digital Enterprise at TCS comments.

Tata Consultancy Services is an IT services, consulting and business solutions organization that delivers real results to global business, ensuring a level of certainty no other firm can match. TCS offers a consulting-led, integrated portfolio of IT, BPO,infrastructure, engineering and assurance services. This is delivered through its unique Global Network Delivery Model™, recognized as the benchmark of excellence in software development. A part of the Tata group, India’s largest industrial conglomerate, TCS has over 276,000 of the world’s best-trained consultants in 44 countries. The company generated consolidated revenues of US $11.6 billion for year ended March 31, 2013 and is listed on the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange in India. For more information, visit us at .

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