Enterprise Social Business and Collaboration for Workplace and Digital Marketing


A new ISG Provider Lens study assesses leading vendors and service providers offering enterprise collaboration and social media management services in the U.S. market. It compares vendors of both internal enterprise collaboration and end-customer-focused social media services and identifies those who lead the respective markets.

ISG defines social business and collaboration as social networking-based collaboration for internal enterprise as well as external marketing and customer service functions. Increasingly, social media is becoming a key disruptor and knowledge center that is redefining the ways users learn and communicate. The participatory and community-building Web 2.0 fuelled the growth of Internet-based social technologies, which are finding their way into business and software services for enterprises.

As Web 2.0 matures, social community-based technologies also are evolving to become more context-driven. Data shared by users and processed by modern social technologies is more structured than before. Social technologies focus more on semantics and the logical meaning of shared information, which has given rise to the semantic-driven web, or Web 3.0. While Web 3.0 is still in its initial stages of development, machines and human interaction have led to the emergence of Web 4.0. Under Web 4.0, intelligent social communities can virtually interact with users, conduct informed conversations and enhance their digital experience.   

With the above-mentioned underlying web technology evolution, social media and collaboration technologies also are providing enterprises with new opportunities and business models. Knowingly or unknowingly, enterprises are using basic tenets of social collaboration to improve their internal workplace environments and better serve their customers. IT leaders want to inculcate the collaborative culture in their enterprises through social networking principles. Similarly, digital marketers want to best leverage their clients’ interactions over social media.

Here are three of the main drivers for social business collaboration:

  1. DIY: “Do it yourself” is the driving principal of social business collaboration. As web systems and social sites become stocked with well-orchestrated knowledge, users find it more convenient to execute tasks by searching relevant information themselves. DIY is driven more by the millennial population, but other generations also are adopting this trait. Business users are more and more comfortable accessing manuals, self-help knowledgebase, FAQs and wikis like Quora to get answers for their queries rather than asking someone to coach them.
  2. Crowdsourcing: Crowdsourcing refers to procuring knowledge and input via Internet-based social communities to complete a project or task. The word “social” is derived from Latin word “socii” meaning “allies.” Crowdsourcing is the technological implementation of the basic human trait of connecting with like-minded people. This social networking technology also helps users identify others with similar traits or common interests and goals.
  3. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning: AI and machine learning technologies are making social collaboration technologies smarter by learning from user behavior and interactions. An AI-based, self-learning and evolving social technology can handle the front-end interaction with users to help them converse in an efficient way.

The three drivers are equally applicable to enterprises as they are to the consumer market. Even though the services scope for internal social collaboration and customer social media management is entirely different, the basic tenets for these technologies are the same. The following table illustrates use cases for these technologies, in both the internal enterprise collaboration and external customer-focused social media management contexts.

Social Business Collaboration Driver

Use Cases for

Internal Enterprise

Use Cases for

External Customers


· Self-help knowledgebase/ manuals for IT help

· Collaboration over cloud-based content along with file-sync-share

· Customers referring to social media communities for brand image

· Customers raising complaints through social media


· Internal community-based intranet

· Team-centric social collaboration, gamification

· Community-based customer feedback

· Building targeted marketing strategies like contests

AI/Machine Learning

· Chatbots interacting with end users for IT service desk services

· Triggering applications and actions based on commands

· Customer sentiment analysis through chatbot interaction

· Automated workflows for marketing and sales teams

For internal workplace environment, social collaboration principles can help enhance productivity by adopting collaboration within teams and around enterprise content. Leading vendors are creating solutions that cater to internal digital workplace needs by implementing social-centric or content-centric collaboration. Similarly, tracking customer feedback and interactions on social media can provide effective digital marketing and customer service management. Leading vendors are creating software solutions to address the market for customer-facing social media management. Many managed service providers are also offering social media-based brand management consulting and customer support services.

The new Provider Lens report highlights key trends and leading vendors in social media management and AI-based chatbot markets for both internal and external audiences. Subscribers to ISG research can read and download the report from ISG Research website or by clicking on the links below.

Associated Insights


About the author

Mrinal Rai

Mrinal Rai

Mrinal Rai is Assistant Director and Principal Analyst at ISG and leads research for the future of work and enterprise customer experience. His expertise is in the digital workplace, emerging technologies and the global IT outsourcing industry. He covers key areas around the Workplace and End User computing domain, viz., modernizing workplace, Enterprise mobility, BYOD, DEX, VDI, managed workplace services, service desk and modernizing IT architecture. He also focuses on unified communications collaboration as a service, enterprise social software, content collaboration, team collaboration, employee experience and productivity services and solutions. He has been with ISG for 10+ years and has 16+ years of industry experience. Mrinal works with ISG advisors and clients in engagements related to the digital workplace, unified communications and service desk. He also leads the ISG Star of ExcellenceTM program that tracks and analyzes enterprise customer experience in the technology industry and authors quarterly ISG CX Index reports. He is also the ISG’s official media spokesperson in India.