Here's an April shower of some of the more interesting reports and presentations I've seen recently. All of them are free.
1. Aberdeen Group: Transforming Information Overflow to Improved Business Performance
You get this survey report from SocialText, who give it the snappier title of Business Impact of Social Software. Discusses enterprise social networking mainly in terms of its help in dealing with business threats and changes.
Fixated on “best in class” companies, when they're really just the best of those Aberdeen surveyed. Nevertheless, reveals some dramatic disparities between best and worst. One for executives.
(November 2011 update: SocialText's Web site no longer carries this report, even though it's listed on the site map.)
2. Altimeter Group: The Social Business Stack for 2011
SlideShare presentation, drawing a marketectural diagram of the social media landscape as it affects organizations. Categorises dozens of suppliers. Useful to people watching the markets for social software and services.
Joe Shepley of Doculabs offers a conventional architectural diagram at Figure 2 here. A fusion of that with the Altimeter map would give a more comprehensive picture. Both omit integration with line-of-business software.
3. Deloitte: Social software for business performance
Subtitled The missing link in social software: measurable business performance improvements. Many useful observations and some good case material but ultimately a hurry-up piece. "Skeptics will likely finish last", it says (apparently using sceptic to mean opponent, not someone unconvinced.)
Well, yes, the early bird might catch the worm but it's the second mouse that gets the cheese. Also, any business advantage gained through using technology alone is soon nullified. One for software marketers and accountants.
4. Forrester: Community Platforms, Q4 2010
Nothing to do with railways but an evaluation of the social business products of Jive Software, KickApps, Lithium Technologies, Mzinga and Telligent Systems. The authors like Lithium and Jive best as all-rounders.
One for potential specifiers and buyers. You can get it from Lithium; name, rank and serial number required.
5. Gleanster: Gleansight: Enterprise Collaboration
A compendium, combining the results of a survey of companies' use of social networking with advice on how to do it and a summary of the offerings from 30+ suppliers. Some data purposely omitted but not enough to matter.
Terse but cogent. One for newcomers to the subject. Registration needed to download.
6. IBM Institute for Business Value: From social media to Social CRM
First of a two-part report on a worldwide study of why consumers use social media and why companies think they do. Has a revealing, and much republished, diagram on page 9 showing how the consumers' world-view differs from that of the businesses they buy from. One for the corporate marketing department.
The authors have succumbed to trendiness in using "Gen Y", "Gen X" and "Baby Boomers" to label charts. Giving age ranges instead would have been more helpful.
(July 2011 update: Part 2 of the report is now available, here.)
An IBM-sponsored investigation into its own use of social networking. Consists mainly of three case studies of how different IBM product groups adopted and are using social software, internally and to customers and trading partners.
I'd have liked more on the problems and costs but it's still useful. One for programme leaders and executives.
8. SCNR: The 2010 New Symbiosis of Professional Networks
Survey from The Society for New Communications Research, looking at how professionals use online networks to help them make decisions. The link above is for the textual summary; there is also a SlideShare version.
The authors don't say what a professional is; it seems to be any senior white-collar worker. One for policy makers and 'professionals'.
All these publications are worth your attention; none is definitive. Happy reading!