Survey: Asean developing markets 'spearheading' adoption of enterprise social tools

Many countries in Southeast Asia are ahead of mature IT markets such as Singapore, Australia and New Zealand in implementing enterprise social tools because their companies are less "conservative" and have a younger workforce.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Many developing markets in Southeast Asia are ahead of mature markets such as Singapore, Australia and New Zealand in implementation of enterprise social tools for internal use, according to a survey.

The use of social tools in the enterprise is among the four pillars transforming the IT industry, along with mobility, big data and cloud computing, said Claus Mortensen, principal of emerging technologies practice group at IDC Asia-Pacific, at a media briefing here Tuesday.

Emerging markets in Southeast Asia were currently "spearheading" the adoption of internal enterprise social tools, said Mortensen. He added that businesses in Singapore and Australia and New Zealand were more hesitant of adopting the tools now.

He was referring to a Asia-Pacific study sponsored by Microsoft and its partners, conducted by IDC from May to June 2012 polling a total of 352 business decision makers and IT managers from midsize and large companies with over 500 PC users. The areas covered were split into three sub-regions: Asean countries comprising Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand; Australia and New Zealand; and Korea.

During the briefing, Claus Mortensen, principal of emerging technologies practice group at IDC Asia-Pacific, said the businesses surveyed primarily used enterprise social tools internally, instead of externally for communicating with customers or partners.

The top three usages of enterprise social tools in the enterprise were for internal training and learning management, internal collaboration and internal knowledge sharing.

For example, 47 percent of Asean companies said they were now using internal training and learning management tools—nearly double that of Singapore and Down Under.

Similarly, 35 percent of Asean companies said they were now using internal collaboration tools while only 19 percent and 27 percent of companies in Singapore and Down Under were doing so. This was the same for internal knowledge sharing tools as 41.2 percent of companies in Southeast Asia have implemented the technology while about half of that proportion in Singapore, Australian and New Zealand companies did the same.

Mature IT countries to catch up
However, the situation is completely "flipped" in six months' time as businesses in the mature markets catch up in the adoption of internal entreprise social tools.

For example, 34 percent of companies Down Under have expressed they will adopt internal collaboration tools within six months while 25 percent of companies in Singapore will do the same. Only 3.9 percent of companies in the rest of Southeast Asia will adopt such tools during the period.

Mortensen highlighted that Southeast Asia has a younger workforce who take social media for granted and would want to have such tools at work.

In Southeast Asia, the percentage of active Facebook users to total Internet users in the country is much higher in contrast to mature IT markets such as Australia and New Zealand where the percentage is at 60 percent.

In Indonesia, 92 percent of Internet users are also on Facebook while the figure is at 89 percent and 87 percent for the Philippines and Thailand, respectively. The ratio is lower in Malaysia and Singapore with 75 percent and 73 percent respectively.

'Staggeringly high' percentage of businesses have enterprise social tools
Based on the study, Mortensen said a "staggeringly high" percentage of organizations surveyed have an enterprise social network in place.

About 75 percent of the respondents were "actively engaging" in the adoption of enterprise social technology, with 52 percent already having such tools in place with 23 percent planning to adopt one in 18 months.

The survey found that cost, security, governance and compliance were the main concerns preventing organizations from adopting enterprise social networks. Mortensen added that the worries were "nothing different" from the concerns that come with introducing new technologies into the enterprise.

Mortensen pointed out that Asean companies, excluding Singapore, were more likely to think of security issues in the traditional way of worrying about endpoints. However, he said they should start shifting towards a mindset adopted by more mature IT markets of approaching as governance and a human resource issue.

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