Report: IT Decision-Makers Make More Use of Social Media

Increasingly, I find myself in conversations about whether, and if so how much, enterprises are adopting social media or user generated content technologies as part of their normal business activity.

The question sometimes gets discussed in terms of how much the executives of various firms “get” the technology. Or don’t. Till now, what I’ve read or heard – and, I have to say, have passed on – has been pretty much in the anecdotal category, rather than based on real research, with numbers.

So I was very interested to open today a report on the actual use of social media tools by IT decision-makers and “influencers” around the world. The report provides some fascinating insights and food for thought – and for consultancy planning.

The ITtoolbox/PJA IT Social Media Index – Wave II – report presents the results of a study carried out in November last year among members of ITtoolbox. The first of these reports was based on research in April/May 2007. The study looked at:

  • the influence of social media tools through stages of the purchase process
  • the credibility of online communities as an extension of personal networks

The study defined user-generated content and social media tools as:

  • blogs
  • podcasts
  • online communities
  • wikis, and
  • profiles/social networking

Topline findings for the latest report include:

  • Topic-based networks and personal networks are the most important sources of information in the consideration and final evaluation stages of purchase for all job roles
  • IT decision-makers rated topic-based communities as the most important source of information through all stages of the technology purchase process
  • Between Wave I and Wave II of this survey, there has been a noticeable increase in social media consumption among IT decision-makers and influencers

As a social media consultant and coach, another finding that I found particularly interesting was that:

There is an unmet need and significant opportunity for online social networks. All categories of IT decision-makers and influencers expressed a need for more online networking communities. (emphasis in original)

So much for information overload and social media fatigue!

Asia results

The report includes detailed breakdowns for Asia. These breakdowns illustrate graphically the finding that IT decision-makers and influencers in Asia are avid consumers of social media: in fact they spend more time with social media/user generated content than do their European and North American counterparts.

Thanks to Jeremiah Owyang for the heads up (via Twitter) for this report.

Des Walsh

Business coach and digital entrepreneur. With coach training from and its Graduate School of Coaching, and a founding member of the International Association of Coaching, Des has been coaching business owners and entrepreneurs for the past 20 years. Over the same period he has also been actively engaged in promoting the business opportunities of the digital economy. He is a certified Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) coach, and a certified specialist in social media strategy and affiliate marketing.

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  1. I think the statistic for US Advertising Dollars spent is somewhere around $27.5 billion for the year 2008 and $32.5 billion for 2009. All this according to in an October 2007 survey (and “No” I’m not associated with them).

    Personally, I think that Social Media is something that should be embraced by all enterprises! Sure my Industry is a little different and it might be a little easier to do but the fact is, think about how easy things become for the consumer! The greater degree of transparency is a must by the demands of today’s new consumer. Wouldn’t you agree?

    By the way, I made my way here through Angela Maiers Blog on Educational Services.

  2. Those are amazing figures, Ricardo. And as you suggest, it is easier for some industries to embrace social media as part of doing business. But it’s hard or impossible to think of a business where pleasing the customer should not be a priority. 🙂

    Thanks for adding the info about your path here. Always good to know how we are found.

  3. Des,

    You said: “It’s hard or impossible to think of a business where pleasing the customer should not be a priority.”

    A personal experience taught me this (and I might be wrong)… Companies with greater market share have little to loose. They can afford the “less than perfect” customer service. It’s unfortunate, but it happens!

  4. Hi Des, I think the study is interesting and has some useful tidbits. A couple of observations:

    1) The population surveyed is predisposed to social media because ITtoolbox uses social media. So it’s not appropriate to overgeneralize the results, but it does give insights into a growing community.

    2) It would have been more useful if the study also included other influences, like IT industry analysts and mainstream media, to provide context.

    Hopefully, ITtoolbox will conduct this survey periodically so we can how this changes over time.

    Carter Lusher, Strategist, SageCircle

    BTW, I linked to this post at Reading List for January 24, 2008

  5. Ricardo
    I’m sure there are plenty of companies with greater market share who feel they can afford “less than perfect” customer service. But surely they are setting themselves up to have market share taken by others who have a different attitude? Easier and less expensive to keep customers than to find new ones or win old ones back.

  6. Carter
    Thanks for those observations and the link. Yes, it would be interesting to have the net cast wider. I was particularly interested in the findings because of the potential implication for someone wanting to introduce or expand the use of social media in the enterprise. On the face of things, it could make a big difference to their chance of success if the IT people are predominantly favorable. Or, to put it more bluntly, what answer would a social media proponent like the CEO to hear on asking the IT people “what do you think about this social media stuff?”.

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