According to the data from the 2013 social business report from MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte, there are three “common sense insights into why social business initiatives often fail to meet expectations.”
1. Managers go into social business with unclear objectives.
The first insight can be found in the question that asked respondents whether the social business initiative they were involved in was started to address a specific business problem. Sixty three percent of respondents indicated “no.”
2. Initiatives start as pilots then fizzle out due to modest participation.
A clear business objective may not be initially necessary, however, if the initiative is explicitly started as a pilot project. In this case, technology is adopted with the explicit intention of trying to figure out exactly what the business applications of these new technologies might be. Indeed, about half of the respondents indicated that the social business initiatives without a clear business objective were intended as a pilot project.
3. Companies expect social initiatives, even pilots, to deliver a financial return on investment.
The third insight comes from the fact that 53% of social business initiatives are expected to deliver a financial return on investment (ROI). This finding, by itself, is not surprising of course. The desire to demonstrate ROI is understandable in for-profit companies, even if it is often notoriously difficult to achieve with social business initiatives.