Microsoft says social tools help foster productivity, but many disagree

Microsoft research reveals a split in the way businesses view social tools, enhancing collaboration but also providing security risks.

Social tools' impact on productivity, by country
Social tools' impact on productivity, by country

New research released by Microsoft on Tuesday dives into raging debate of whether social tools like Twitter, Microsoft Lync, and Facebook belong in the business realm. Do they enable employees to become more productive, or are they distractions that should be limited in the workplace? The answer, it seems, depends on what country you work in.

A worldwide survey of 9,900 workers conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Microsoft found that workers in China, India, Turkey, and Mexico reported the most productivity gains from using social tools, on the average of from 67 per cent to 84 per cent of those polled. US workers took a much more conservative view, however, with only about a third saying that they were more productive when using social tools.

The US was also among the 23 countries out of 32 that cited security concerns as a reason for restricting social tools in the workplace. Within the remaining nine countries, employers restricted social tools because productivity actually dipped, the survey said.

Most social networks lie outside of Microsoft's domain, with Facebook, Twitter, and others driving conversations around the globe. In the last few years, however, Microsoft has begun injecting itself into those conversations by aggressively integrating social networks like Facebook into the body of information its Bing search engine searches, and forging ties to LinkedIn, foursquare, Quora, and Klout. (Microsoft also has its own social experiment, so.cl.)

Meanwhile, Microsoft bought Yammer for $1.2 billion  last year, and recently said that sales at the collaboration software maker are booming. Microsoft has also added additional pieces, such as voice, video, and text chat provider Skype, tying them to its in-house collaboration engine for businesses, Lync.

Overall, Microsoft said that the survey indicated that workers wanted to use social tools at work, with a third even going so far to say that they would pay for their own social tools -- even though the most popular ones are free. About 77 per cent of those polled said that those tools make them feel more productive, with about 40 per cent saying that the tools had contributed to collaboration among colleagues within the workplace.

"Just as email accelerated the pace of business in the 1990s, enterprise social will be the driver of greater agility and transformation in the 21st century workplace," said Kurt DelBene, president of the Microsoft Office Division, in a statement. "As we look ahead at how collaboration and communications continue to evolve, we believe the tools people use today--email, instant messaging, voice, videoconferencing, social--will come together and be deeply integrated into apps in ways that will speed collaboration and truly transform the way people work."

That's not to say that employers have wholeheartedly embraced social tools, however. Within the United States, for example, 55 per cent of those polled said that social tools are a "distraction" in the workplace, and 49 per cent said that they believed that management looked upon social networks as an intentional or unintentional way to leak sensitive company information.

Microsoft published a summary of its findings on its website.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

How to become the customer experience custodian

The number one objective enterprises give for embarking on a digital transformation is to improve customer experiences with new engagement models, according to IDC’s 2017 global study.

Fear not: It's only a robot

Every time I pass through the automated border controls at the Sydney airport I walk away with a feeling of exasperation on the one hand and relief on the other. Exasperation, because the face recognition technology inevitably always fails to recognise me. Relief, because we seem to be safely years away from the Orwellian reality of states controlling every aspect of our lives; something the media is keenly warning us against each day.

Dan Kalinski

CEO, iProspect Australia and New Zealand

To DMP or not to DMP?

There are plenty of brands that can benefit from plugging into a data management platform. But should you engage an agency to run one or bring it in-house?

Ben Willee and Richard Taylor

Spinach Advertising

I worked at Momentum when the transformation started way back in 2013 (not 2015 as stated in the article). It was a painfully slow and co...

Jay

How Momentum Energy has transformed its entire business to be customer-led

Read more

Another buzzword thoughtlessly latched onto, without any thought for the implications on the organisations that have to lumber through th...

Tired

Rolling out agile marketing at Deakin

Read more

Useful., also don’t miss out on these 5 features of Adobe Experience Cloud - Visit here > http://www.softcrylic.com/b...

Sunil Joseph

Adobe debuts Advertising Cloud, Experience Cloud

Read more

the systems that run these things are teachable just like a car, theres stuff still yet to come out to bring up the automation grade, b...

Magnus Robert Carl Wootton

Fear not: It's only a robot - Big data delivery - CMO Australia

Read more

Marin Software’s digital marketing solution as a short way of streamlining and finding a scalable solution...

Al Drazhev

How BizCover is boosting search advertising success

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in