Last month, MIT Sloan in collaboration with Deloitte released a study, “Social Business: What Are Companies Really Doing?” that highlights the growing importance of social business initiatives, among other things.

The majority of respondents (52%) believe that social business is important or somewhat important to their business operations. Roughly 86% of managers believe social business will be important or somewhat important in the next three years. Additionally, social business is viewed most often as a tool for external-facing activities. Here are further insights:

  • Respondents say that marketing, sales and customer services are most responsible for driving social business adoption
  • On average, respondents say that the most important use of social business software is for managing customer relationships
  • The second most important use of social software is to innovate for competitive differentiation

Also from reading the full report (link here, requires registration), it’s clear that social business enables much more than just marketing. The study concludes with several case studies from McDonalds, Lego, Nationwide and Luminoso where the outcome of social business affected innovation, operations and leadership. Below illustrates how social business can enable much more than how a brand communicates on the social web.

I think we can all agree that social business isn’t just a buzzword any longer, despite what the critics say. It’s real life and it can help solve real life business problems.

Read more: Social Business?…. Brilliant Once You Get Past the Jargon