Social Business Intelligence: The future of workforce interaction

Social media applications are having a profound effect on how we communicate, blurring the lines between professional and social interaction, as corporations harness the features of these applications and apply them to the workplace.

This transformation of the corporate communications process has been forecast by global computing icon, Bill Gates, with the ICT pioneer stating that: “social networking-type applications will become as ubiquitous in the workplace as Microsoft Office tools and will likely replace email as the dominant form of corporate communications”.

But you already knew this. You’ve heard it many times before. The question of interest is why is this happening?

A new generation of information workers

As a younger social-media savvy generation enters the workforce, they will bring with them new skills and expectations, regarding the deliver of information.

A recent joint Unisys and IDC study has found that with younger information workers entering the workplace for the first time, the way in which corporate interaction takes place will change.

The study expects that, in corporations with more than 500 employees, the number of information workers using social networking platforms will almost double between 2009 and 2014.

More efficient communication

The same research report predicts that the number of business interactions will grow four-fold from 3.5 trillion in 2010 to 12.7 trillion by 2013.

Naturally, businesses are searching for more efficient methods of communication to deal with expanding information volumes and the necessary business interactions that accompany that trend.

According to respondents to a recent CIO magazine poll determining CIO priorities for 2011, collaborative and social technologies, including Social Business Intelligence (BI), will be crucial in addressing and facilitating this swell in information exchange, by boosting workforce productivity. Sixty-seven percent of survey participants said that improving employee productivity would be a major focus in 2011.

How does Social Business Intelligence boost productivity?

Easy. Integrating social networking capabilities into existing BI applications allows users to undertake discussion, analysis and collective decision-making in full-view of their data, within a uniform environment.

A social layer within a BI solution improves the efficiency of business interaction regarding reporting and analytics; compared to traditional avenues of communication such as faxes, phone calls and face-to-face meetings; by:

  • Being recordable: Conversations are automatically recorded, creating a searchable history of all interaction, eliminating unnecessarily revisiting points previously made
  • Eliminating logistical hurdles: The need for complex and costly travel arrangements is significantly reduced, with geographically dispersed stakeholders able to participate in the exchange of information faster
  • Enabling all relevant stakeholders to participate: All relevant stakeholders can contribute to discussion at their convenience


As social computing technology matures, it will become a common and expected feature within a large range of enterprise applications.

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