Telcos' social future

Telcos' social future

Nick Gurney and Rob van den Dam
IBM

Social networking and social business will continue to change the way we work, communicate and live. It represents a fundamental shift in all aspects of the communication service provider industry. So why is the adoption of social business by CSPs so low? They have been playing in the shallows of social business. The good news is that most are planning to take the plunge.

 IBM Institute for Business ValueA recent global study by IBM provides insights into how CSPs are using social business today and sets out the areas of focus and value going forward.  The timing is right. Today, roughly one-third of the world's population is online. And many of these connected users are increasingly using social media tools to shop, spend and share insights. This all has led to an amazing consumer revolution as profound as any seen before. Additionally, every new employee coming into the industry is already a power user of social networking, a capability to be further nurtured and harnessed.  

CSPs have started using social media to track social media conversations, offer support tips, respond to support requests, and announce new products or special events. CSPs in the forefront are using social approaches to engage deeper with their customers, to share knowledge with their suppliers, business partners and, perhaps more importantly, their employees. They also realize the relevance of social tools in driving innovation for competitive differentiation and are reaping the rewards.   

However, the use of social business tools is not without risks. Our survey revealed that only 13% of the CSPs respondents have effective processes in place to deal with these risks such as attacks on their brands, legal issues, data security and privacy and unintended disclosure of company information.  

IBM Institute for Business Value surveyed more than 1,100 businesses around the world, including executives from the telecom industry. Social business is gaining notable traction in their organizations; 49% of the CSPs surveyed increased their investments in social business in 2012, and 58% indicated they were going to increase their expenditures over the next three years.

They want to achieve three main objectives:

  • Create valued customer experiences
  • Drive workforce productivity and effectiveness
  • Accelerate innovation  

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