Social Intranet: A Vibrant Market

Market research shows: internal communications is a problem, and social intranets are a solution.

As part of our ongoing research programme, we've conducted market research to investigate attitudes and expectations for social intranets.

We've queried 200 decision makers in The Netherlands, about equally distributed between decisionmakers in HR, Communications, CEO and IT.

Internal communication is a problem

Internal communication is perceived to be a problem by 40% of the respondents. In large organisations, that rises to 75%.


When asked, what can be done to improve internal communications, the top 3 reasons are: better internal agreements, training and digital document sharing.

The need for better agreements, and the need for more clear function delineation, are suggestive of deep-running organizational issues that require more than a technology fix. At Cosent we strongly believe that deploying social technology should be embedded in a wider organizational change strategy.


What goals does improving internal communication serve? The top 3 are improving collaboration, improving knowledge sharing and improving productivity. While collaboration is obvious and corresponds with the coordination issues listed above, the high score for knowledge sharing is especially interesting.


Social intranet is a solution

When asked whether a social intranet would add value to the organisation, a whopping 90% sees either "added value" or "a lot of added value" in deploying a social intranet. CEOs are least convinced, and IT decisionmakers are most convinced of that added value.


We've measured adoption of a wide range of specific social features in intranets, like blogging, commenting, activity streams and workspaces. The first interesting finding is, that there's not much difference in the adoption between features. Apparently these are rolled out together.

Secondly, our data paints a picture of a very healthy social intranet market with organisations about equally distributed across al phases of the adoption cycle of social functionalities.

Finally, a lot of organisations that have deployed a social intranet appear to be struggling to achieve business benefits, with around 20% reporting that social functionality has been deployed but needs to be improved.


In summary: internal communications is seen as a problem that needs attention, and social intranets are seen as a viable solution to this problem. Many organizations are rolling out social features but only a minority report being satisfied with the results yet.

In a following blog post we'll take a deeper look at the reasons for that.

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