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As businesses look to technology to become more strategic in
2010, employees at those businesses are also latching onto technology—in the
form of Web 2.0 and social networking at sites such as Facebook, Twitter and
LinkedIn—to help get the job done.

That’s according to a new survey of 4,710 U.S. workers by research analyst firm
IDC that shows 57 percent of them use social
media for business purposes at least once a week. The research, looking at the
intersection of Web 2.0, Enterprise
2.0 and collaboration, reveals that “we are entering a time of significant
cultural and process change for business, driven by the emergence of the social
web,” the firm said in a statement.

For IT solution providers and technology resellers, such a trend presents a big
opportunity. For example, VARs can provide the technology to mitigate
security risks
presented by social media applications.

In addition, the strain of using additional applications such as Facebook and
YouTube can degrade
network and server performance
, leading to the need for the assistance of
technology solution providers to audit and provide suggestions to fix the

And while some corporations may look upon social media as a fad, IDC
views it as a game-changing technology that will affect the way companies do
business in the future. It’s here to stay, along with all its problems and

“If you look deep into the social business movement, you will see that we are
on the brink of a fundamental change in the way businesses interact with
customers, partners, suppliers and employees," said Michael Fauscette,
group vice president for Software Business Strategies at IDC,
in a statement. "Businesses today fall into three camps—the social ‘denyer,’
the accidental socialite and the socially aware.

“Regardless of where a company falls in these categories, customers’
expectations of technologies and the way they interact with suppliers have
changed, driven greatly by the social Web," he said.

The survey also found the following:

  • 15 percent of U.S. workers
    surveyed reported using a consumer social tool instead of
    corporate-sponsored social tools for business purposes due to the
    following top three reasons, (1) ease of use, (2) familiarity due to
    personal use and (3) low cost.
  • The No. 1 reason cited by U.S.
    workers for using social tools for business purposes was to acquire
    knowledge and ask questions from a community.
  • While marketers are the
    earliest and largest adopters of social media, these tools are now gaining
    deeper penetration into the enterprise with use by executive managers and
  • Software companies will
    increase their social software offerings significantly as customer demand
    steadily increases and “socialytic” applications will emerge, fusing
    social/collaboration software and analytics to business logic/workflow and