Businesses report a growing appetite for social media work tools


Social media, as politicians and celebrities are all too aware is a double edged sword. Just last week David Cameron read out a Twitter message during Prime Minister’s Questions sent to a Labour MP, who had asked people for suggestions about what to ask at PMQs. The first reply was “how happy are you that the Labour leader will still be in place at the next election?” And Cameron himself has not been exempt to the odd twitter gaffe. Social media is such a powerful tool however, that employers can’t afford to ignore it – so demand for enterprise social networks – business tools that use Facebook-style features to allow staff to interact with one another on work projects are on the increase.

A poll – albeit one commissioned by a social collaboration tools supplier Citrix- shows the powerful draw for employers in using these social media-style collaboration platforms. Almost half (47%) of more than 200 senior UK decision-makers polled confirmed that their organisations already use some form of social collaboration technology. The main reasons for the uptake included a rise in flexible working opportunities (12%) and the need to work remotely with partners, customers and third-party contingent workers such as contractors and freelancers (18%). Other factors included falling technologies costs (9%) and improved features such as more intuitive user interfaces (15%).

While enabling users to post statuses, make comments, ‘like’ each other’s posts and share files; unlike external social media tools , such as twitter, these tools allow the business itself to choose how to structure the format of the interactions. Conversations can also be stored in the context of the project being discussed, enabling everyone to join in.

Citrix cites the example of Andy Levey, senior manager of new media and analytics at Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas who chose the Citrix Podio social collaboration tool for use within his marketing team. “What attracted us to Podio was that it put everything in one place and it was something you could fully customise,” he said.

“It wasn’t just a project management system – it was a project management system for our needs. No two projects are the same, and it’s really cool as the project manager can build in different aspects in different apps on the Podio platform.”

Commenting on Cirque du Soleil’s experience and the research findings, Andrew Millard, senior director marketing, EMEA, Citrix SaaS, said: “Rather than working in isolation, using business-oriented social technologies, professionals can instantly connect and get the context they need on projects, tasks, business processes and everyday workflows outside of an organised meeting setting, enabling them to respond quicker and make decisions even faster.”