We recently embarked on a Forrester-wide research project to benchmark the use of social technologies across enterprise organizations. Why is this important? Well as you may know, we cover social technologies from a wide range of perspectives — from roles in marketing to IT to technology professionals. We find each of these roles differ in their general “social maturity” and that most companies are experiencing pockets of success, but few, if any, are successfully implementing it across the board. In fact, full maturity in this space could take years, but there are clear differences in how some “ahead of the curve” companies are using social technologies for business results.

There are serious security and risk concerns with social technology but there are also significant business and operational benefits. Security professionals have to determine how they can mitigate these risks to an acceptable level without significantly hampering the business. If you haven’t seen it, Chenxi Wang has written an excellent report on how effective management of social media can alleviate security risks. Check out To Facebook Or Not To Facebook.

There is also some discussion about how security professionals might use social technologies to their own benefit — particularly to leverage the knowledge of other security professionals to combat the growing sophistication of security attacks. If you haven’t seen it, check out John Kindervag’s report SOC 2.0: Virtualizing Security Operations.

At this point, it has been clearly established by many people (including us many times over) that social technologies are changing the way companies do business. But we want to determine the current reality of practitioners. Our clients constantly ask us, “Where is my organization compared to others in the use of social media?” We want to answer this and other questions like:

  • How do you define “social maturity” and why is it important to get there?
  • Which companies are ahead of the curve in the implementation of social technologies for both external use (i.e. for customers/consumers) and/or internal use (i.e. for employees/partners)?
  • What have been the biggest drivers of success?
  • What are the biggest challenges?
  • What steps do most organizations need to take and why?


Here’s how we want you to help:

  • If you work for an organization that markets products or services to consumers or businesses (i.e. “clients” in vendor speak), then please take this survey. We want to hear from anyone involved in social. For your efforts, we will share with you a free executive summary of the survey results.
  • If you are a vendor, agency, consultant, or even just a consumer interested in sharing your thoughts, we can’t include you in the survey, but we do want to hear from you, so please feel free to comment on this blog with your thoughts. We promise to keep the conversation going and we will be writing a blog post on some of the findings when the research is published.


We want to hear from you, so please, share your thoughts.

PS — Since we’re on the subject of social media and its business applicability, please follow the Security & Risk team on Twitter: FORR_SR.