The European Social Collaboration Survey 2019

I strongly believe a better ability for our society to see, learn, communicate and cooperate towards common goals will increasingly be a survival factor to counterbalance a world going towards potentially irreversible levels of fragmentation, polarization, hatred and lack of scientific mindset.

In 2013, together with Stefano Besana, I felt the urge to give back to the community by launching the first totally free, quantitative analysis of Social Collaboration maturity, patterns and potential in Italy. After many long nights and weekends of work, we published an extensive report downloaded thousands of times from every part of the globe whose messages have been synthesized in Social Collaboration that Works, together with a supporting presentation that is still available online.

That first study demonstrated how Social Collaboration was indeed a critical business accelerator but also that most of the market was lagging behind in terms of management awareness and sponsorship, business focus, cultural alignment, adoption levels, dedicated community design and management capabilities. These gaps were the explanation of adoption levels that only in 18% of the sample reached at least 50% of the organization and that in a mere 7% of them virtually touched the entire population (more than 75% of employees). Based on the successful patterns demonstrated by companies with a pervasive diffusion of collaboration tools and ways of working, a number of suggestions had been provided in the report, including a hybrid roll-out strategy, a vocal and visible role for the top management, enough attention to the new skills required by this transformation, a distance from purely technology-centric investments, disciplined measurement of business (on top of participation) results.

Fast forward to today. Five years are a geological era in digital terms. For this reason, Monday 5th of November 2018 marks the launch of the European Social Collaboration Survey 2019, our new primary research effort, meant to:

  • Extend our analysis to a broader international, cross sector sample of organizations
  • Check if, as many research firms report, collaboration is still a crucial and growing trend within enterprises
  • Verify the progress (if any) the market achieved in terms of adoption and maturity of the initiatives since the first analysis
  • Understanding if the cultural barriers hindering business value realization are still the same or have changed over time
  • Explore more advanced flavours of collaboration that look at the external ecosystem (customers, partners, suppliers) the firm is immersed into
  • Investigate if the integration of collaboration tools within the broader IT architectural landscape has happened
  • Measure to what extent new technological aids (machine learning, IoT, conversational experiences, etc.) are being considered and leveraged
  • Reflect on the long-term net effects of collaboration on organizational design (hierarchy, level of control, functional silos, self management).

On top of looking into the data to spot market, country and sector specific trends, this year we’ll also try to run deep dives with individual organizations willing to share their experience. A small but meaningful group of players will thus be selected for 1-to-1 interviews through which we’ll inquire into aha moments, telling episodes, unique practices, lessons learned and future directions that can inspire the rest of the market.

Together with such a slightly revamped focus, the research will still investigate the following dimensions of Social Collaboration:

  • Relevance: To what extent is collaboration considered as a strategic topic both today and in the near future?
  • Drivers: What are the business drivers that lead companies to introduce tools and participatory approaches?
  • Sponsors: Which departments have the responsibility to launch and / or support collaborative initiatives?
  • Maturity: At what level of maturity are companies in our country?
  • Budget: How large are the available budgets and how are they spent among the different areas of the project?
  • Measurement: Which performance indicators and metrics are in place and how much is performance measurement already an integral part of existing initiatives?
  • Best & worst practices: Which strategies have been particularly effective in achieving high levels of adoption and what is important to avoid?
  • Processes: How deeply is collaboration intertwined into business processes?
  • Tools: Which tools are most often used by employees?

Once again the analysis will be conducted in our spare time and the results provided for free to the community. The good news this time is that Prof. Enrico Scarso and his team at the University of Padova will join us to make the journey smoother and more insightful.

Without further ado, I thus invite you to:

  • Take part to the European Social Collaboration Survey 2019. Participation shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes
  • Spread the word through your social profiles as to increase the quantity of data and insights we’ll be able to play back to the community
  • Reach out to me (emanuele DOT quintarelli AT gmail DOT com), if you want to be featured in one of our case studies.

The team cannot wait to share the results of the study in the first part of next year!

Emanuele Quintarelli

Social media enthusiast and Social Business Leader in EY. Research, reports and reflections about the introduction of web 2.0 inside the enterprise.