You are on page 1of 22

Executive Summary

Blogging in the
Enterprise
A Guidewire Group Market Cycle Survey

Survey Sponsor

October 2005
Corporate Blogging Drives Next Wave of
Social Media Adoption
The next wave of adoption of social media tools will be
driven by corporations who are adopting blogs for both
internal and external communications at an increasing rate.
This is the primary finding of Guidewire Group’s Blogging
in the Enterprise Survey.

Key Findings

• Corporations of all sizes and across a wide


The vast majority array of industries are adopting blogging
of companies technologies and practices. 89% of respondents
(89%) are either are either blogging now or are planning to blog.
blogging now or • Corporate adoption of blogging is entering its
planning to blog hyper-growth phase. More than 50% of
soon. respondents have launched one or more blogs
in the last year. Less than 10% have been using
blogs for more than 3 years.

• Adoption is being driven by specific business


benefits from both internal- (improved internal
communications – 77.4%) and external-
(improved brand recognition – 78%) facing
deployments

• Barriers to adoption exist, but they are limited


in scope compared to other emerging
technologies, and are not significantly related
to technology issues themselves. Of
corporations that do not yet blog, 57% say they
are unsure of the benefits, whereas 42% of
those who do blog say that maintaining
enthusiasm for the blog deployment is the
largest barrier to success.

2/8
Who Is Blogging?
Smaller companies have been quicker to adopt blogging as a
part of their communications strategies, followed by mid-sized.
Guidewire Group suspects that the challenges of regulatory
issues and policy have slowed large company adoption to some
degree.

53% of companies
> 1000
are blogging. 16%

< 100
100-1000
58%
26%

Blogging Corporations by # of Employees

> $100M No Answer


16% 23%

$10-100M
14%
Blogging has
penetrated virtually < $100M
every industry. 45%

Blogging Corporations by Revenue

Respondents to the survey came from a cross-section


of industries, including Advertising & Marketing
(16%), Computers & Electronic Manufacturing (8%),
and Professional Services (8%). Aerospace, Banking,
Communications, Consumer Package Goods,
Education, Energy Insurance, were among other
industries represented.

3/8
Blog Adoption Is
Recent and Accelerating

A recent surge in corporate blogging, significant plans for


expanding current blogging activities, and a large community of
potential customers suggest that corporate customers – more so
than traditional and new media outlets – will drive the future
growth of the social media market.
More than half of Less than 10% have used blogs for more than 3 years. More than
all corporate blogs half of the organizations surveyed had launched blogs only within
have started within the last year, and the majority of those have been started since June
of this year.
the last year.

No respondent
plans to scale back
or stop activity. pre-2002 2002 2003 2004 2005
Cumulative Corporate Respondents Blogging

The Market is poised for further rapid growth. Of those


corporations currently blogging, 57% are planning to
expand their activities,

Of those not currently blogging, the majority (70%) are


positive they will add blogging to their corporate
70% of those not communications mix. In fact, 7% intend to start a blog
yet blogging plan immediately, and 13% intending to start a blog within a
year. Half said they are studying the possibilities but did
to start. not state a time line for blog adoption.

4/8
Solid Benefits Drive Adoption
The adoption rate of corporate blogging is clearly being
driven by the benefits that have accrued to those who have
embraced social media technology.

Internal Blogging Uses and Benefits

Internal blogs are used for communication within a


company. Primary uses cited:
55% of
corporations have • Knowledge-sharing (63%)
adopted blogs for • Internal communications (44%)
• Project management (30%)
both internal
• Personal knowledge management (23%)
(91.4%) and • Event logging (23%)
external (96.6%) • Team management (20%)
communications,
The key benefits that respondents enjoyed from internal
and are finding blogging include improved internal communications (77%),
significant benefit replacement of other exiting work processes (41%), and
to both forms. replacement of email (39%).

External Blogging Uses and Benefits

External blogs are mainly used for PR/marketing (61%)


and demonstration of thought leadership (61%). More
than 40% reported they have a CEO blog and 35% use
blogs for regular customer and partner communications.

The benefits of external blogs include improved brand


recognition (78%) and external communications (78%), as
well as a vehicle for customer feedback (66%). A few
respondents are expecting blogs to generate income (20%),
but many more are expecting this activity to improve
search engine position (58%).

5/8
Barriers To Entry Are Manageable
While survey respondents detailed a variety of barriers to
successful deployment of blog communications strategies,
surprisingly, corporate cultural and policy issues surpassed
technology concerns.

No respondent The biggest challenges faced by business bloggers are


maintaining enthusiasm for the blog project (42%) and
reported launching encouraging adoption (36%) within the organization.
a blog initiative Dealing with technological problems was a concern of only
that was found to 30% of respondents
be unsuccessful.
While corporate policy and culture are often mentioned in
dialog with those exploring the adoption of blogs, these
survey respondents did not rate these challenges as
overwhelming. Establishing editorial policy (14%) and
dealing with inappropriate comments or content (14%) are
less challenging than enlisting management support (18%),
respondents said.

The primary reason (cited by 57% of respondents) for not


having launched a blogging initiative is poor understanding
of the benefits blogging can deliver to the organization.
They also expressed uncertainty about issues such as
measuring effectiveness or results (24%), fear of losing
control of the company message (22%), and concern about
what employees may write (22%).

Technology was not cited as a barrier to adoption for these


non-blogging respondents.

6/8
Methodology and Sample
The survey polled corporate marketing and
communications professionals to gauge adoption patterns,
explore barriers to adoption, and discover new applications
as businesses tap the tools of social media to create new
conversations with their customers, partners, and
employees.

The BlogOn 2005 Social Media Adoption Survey was


fielded for two weeks in September 2005. The online
survey was open to public participation, encouraged by
direct email to a random sample of 5000 CMO Magazine
readers, a press release announcing the survey, and
unsolicited postings in various blogs and blog search
engines. 140 individuals responded to the survey.

Respondents represented a wide selection of job title,


including C-level executives, President, Director,
Marketing Manager, Student, Consultant, Professor and
Systems Analyst. The vast majority of respondents are
from the USA (77%), with Canada, Western Europe and
Central/South America also represented.

Smaller companies were represented more than larger ones,


with 53% having a revenue of $10m, and 23% having a
revenue of more than $100m; and 54% having less than
100 employees and 19% having more than 1000.

7/8
About Guidewire Group
Guidewire Group is a global research firm focusing
exclusively on emerging technology companies and
markets. The company's online media, reports, and
executive events bring the right people together at the right
time with the right information to accelerate market
development and business opportunity for entrepreneurs
and those who support them.

Guidewire Group Research Services


For more information regarding Guidewire Group’s
research services, or to purchase a copy of the complete
Blogging in the Enterprise Survey results, please contact
Mike Sigal by telephone (415-503-4066) or email
(research@guidewiregroup.com)

About iUpload
iUpload is a leading content management and corporate
blogging software company whose solutions help
organizations optimize the marketing potential of their
content. Whether you're an individual, a corporation or a
community, iUpload provides a powerful one-stop
solution for creating, managing and distributing all of your
content, while giving you a new social marketing platform
that extends your corporate voice and strengthens your
brand across multiple communities. Founded in 1998,
Guidewire Group iUpload's headquarters are in Burlington, Ontario,
600 Townsend Street Canada. For more information, visit www.iupload.com.
Suite 120e
San Francisco, CA 94103
www.guidewiregroup.com

8/8
BLOGGING
G IN THE ENTERPRISE:

MYTHS AND

REALITIES

1
BLOGGING IN THE ENTERPRISE: MYTHS AND REALITIES

ou’re familiar with how the scenario is played out at a lot of

Y organizations. To much fanfare, a company announces that it is


entering the blogosphere and executives and employees are given
blogs and guidelines on how to best represent the company. Yet despite the
excitement, as the months pass, the initiative gains little traction and its
impact is difficult to measure.

According to a recent survey conducted by iUpload and Guidewire Group,


producer of the BlogOn Conference, companies that fit this description are
typically failing in four critical areas:

1) Finding ways to maintain enthusiasm,


2) Encouraging adoption throughout the organization,
3) Overcoming technology challenges, and
4) Garnering management support. What’s more, the survey indicates
that more than half of companies that do not use blogs do so because
they are unsure of the benefits.

The survey sheds light on the fact that, despite the high level of media at-
tention and awareness of the blogging phenomenon, the medium is still
evolving and its value and potential benefits are often misunderstood and
quickly evolving.

2
BLOGGING IN THE ENTERPRISE: MYTHS AND REALITIES

To help clarify some of the “Myths and Realities” associated with


blogging in the enterprise, iUpload evaluated corporate blog initiatives
from companies across many industries, including manufacturing, retail,
education and publishing to determine what drives a successful blog
strategy. iUpload’s corporate blogging platform is used by dozens of
enterprises and organizations looking to create interactive communities
and foster dialogue between various internal and external
constituencies. The company’s customers include large newspaper
publishers such as Knight-Ridder, financial institutions such as Stillwater
National Bank, educational institutions such as Trump University, and
retailers such as McDonald’s and Cannondale Bikes.

The following document details these “Myths and Realities” and serves as a
guide for any organization seeking to effectively use blogs at the corporate
level.

3
BLOGGING IN THE ENTERPRISE: MYTHS AND REALITIES

Myth #1: Guidelines are the Holy Grail for


Reducing Corporate Blogging Risk
If you’ve followed the blogosphere during the past year, you’ve undoubtedly
heard an employee at a well-know company being fired for blogging. Clear-
ly, blogging during company time or about company issues has become a
risky endeavor.

Meanwhile, from a company’s perspective there are many potential risks


associated with blog initiatives. One potential danger is that a blog may
reveal confidential company information.

In the wake of these high profile incidents, much focus has been given to
develop a set of “blogging guidelines.” Despite their well-intentioned efforts
to help employees responsibly engage in a dialogue with colleagues, cus-
tomers and the market in general, blogging guidelines have done very little
to mitigate the risks associated with corporate blogging initiatives.

4
BLOGGING IN THE ENTERPRISE: MYTHS AND REALITIES

Reality #1: To Reduce Risk, Companies Should


Implement Administrative Controls
The reason that corporate blogging guidelines fall short is that they don’t
address the same challenges that are inherent in other communications
channels. High profile bloggers who have been fired would have faced
similar issues if the same content they presented in their blog had been
emailed to an inappropriate person or group or presented in a speech. The
reality is that most companies already have a “code of conduct” document
in place that encompasses email, instant messaging and any public
communication.

“One of the biggest misconceptions in business today is that guidelines are


the best way to protect the ‘purity’ of blogs, while reducing the risks associ-
ated with the open, informal nature of the medium,” says Robin Hopper,
CEO of iUpload. “While guidelines can be an useful component of a blog
strategy, our research and experience working with customers shows that
the most successful initiatives to date have included enterprise-level admin-
istrative tools that provide companies a level of control.”

To help customers address this issue, iUpload provides a host of admin-


istration capabilities that allow companies to make extensive use of the
valuable content created in each blog while reducing the risk of inappropri-
ate blog content being released. The point is that people may inadvertently
write content that is not for public consumption and companies need the
controls in place to flag and prevent it, and train staff what content is
appropriate.

5
BLOGGING IN THE ENTERPRISE: MYTHS AND REALITIES

Myth #2: To Build a Successful


Corporate Blog, Companies Should
Select the Right People to Blog
In many enterprise blog initiatives, blog authors are hand picked to repre-
sent the company. These authors are either company employees or market-
ing consultants that are brought on board to not only create blog content,
but also establish a company’s presence and “voice” in the blogosphere.

In some cases, blogging takes the form of evangelical outreach and the au-
thors are often tasked with sticking to the company message and promot-
ing its most important products and initiatives. Meanwhile, employees who
are in the trenches developing products and are subject matter experts do
not have an opportunity to participate.

6
BLOGGING IN THE ENTERPRISE: MYTHS AND REALITIES

Reality #2: Blogs Can and Should be Widely


Distributed as Personal Knowledge
Repositories with Rules to Liberate the Best
Blog Content and Make it Available to the
Right People in the Right Context
“One of the biggest mistakes we see is that companies try to manage their
blog initiatives by controlling by whom and how blog content is created,”
says Hopper. “While this is perceived as a low risk proposition, we find that
this tactic either backfires because it lacks authenticity or isn’t compelling,
or simply not enough content is generated to help the initiative gain
traction and achieve its results.”

Adds Hopper, “Selecting a blogger, or a few bloggers and asking them to


write high quality daily is a recipe for failure and blogger burn-out.”

Instead, iUpload has observed that its most successful customers have
provided blogs widely to employees as knowledge repositories where
content is created freely. The content spans day-to-day activities, and
adds insightful commentary on corporate and industry issues. The key is
being able to liberate the best content from those blogs and present it to
the right audience, at the right time, in the right context. iUpload clients
have used this approach to create intranets, extranets, client knowledge
portals, and even entire community newspapers from the best content in
individual blogs.

7
BLOGGING IN THE ENTERPRISE: MYTHS AND REALITIES

Myth #3: Company Blogs Are Mainly Effective


as a PR and Marketing Tool
In the recent survey conducted by iUpload and Guidewire Group, more
than 60% of respondents indicated that they use blogs for PR and market-
ing purposes. This number demonstrates that, to date, a large number of
corporate blogging initiatives have been motivated by building goodwill
and establishing thought leadership in the marketplace.

“One of the most surprising things about most corporate blogging pro-
grams to date is that they lack vision for the value that blogs can bring to
the enterprise, and fall short in their ability to leverage the vast amounts of
content and information that’s created to fuel key corporate functions, such
as sales, research and development and customer service,” says Hopper.

8
BLOGGING IN THE ENTERPRISE: MYTHS AND REALITIES

Reality #3: Blogs Should be Leveraged


to Improve Fundamental Business and
Communications Processes Across the
Organization
For many successful companies, blog initiatives go beyond public relations
and are used to support a wide range of business activities, as well as im-
prove relationships with external groups, such as partners and customers.
This is particularly important as it opens up a new and highly interactive
communications channel with key audiences and, as important, helps turn
participants into stronger advocates and a valuable source of useful content.

For example, Stillwater National Bank, a firm specializing in commercial


lending, uses blogs as a way to communicate with investment partners in
the area. Presented as an extranet, Stillwater mortgage bankers leverage
the iUpload system to publish information about mortgage opportunities
to specific business partners and the software integrates with the Stillwa-
ter’s CRM package to track leads and customer activity.

9
BLOGGING IN THE ENTERPRISE: MYTHS AND REALITIES

Myth #4: Creating Celebrity Bloggers is Key


Robert Scoble and Jonathan Schwartz are perhaps two of the best known
bloggers in corporate America. Both work at large companies (Microsoft
and Sun respectively), and both have blogs that are read by thousands of
people on a daily basis.

Scoble and Schwartz are examples of “A list” bloggers and their success in
becoming high profile evangelists has created the impression that all
companies that launch blog initiatives should anoint one or more bloggers
as their celebrity spokespeople.

10
BLOGGING IN THE ENTERPRISE: MYTHS AND REALITIES

Reality #4: Companies Should Harness And


Make Available the Blog Content that Aligns
with Appropriate Company Initiatives
Blogs as we know them are a profound and constantly changing
communications channel. As blogging technology improves and is better
integrated with other forms of corporate content, individual blogs will
become less apparent and relevant and the value of the content that is
created in them will become paramount.

Innovative companies are implementing technologies that allow them to


manage blog content in even broader and more impactful ways. Some are
currently leveraging interesting and compelling blog content across market-
ing channels, such as the corporate web site and within advertisements. For
example, an insightful posting on an employee blog could drive customers
to other corporate resources (or even products). Further, useful postings
from employees, such as customer service representatives, could be
aggregated into a new customer service support section on the company’s
web site or support intranet. These are just a few examples of the ways that
the use of blogs is evolving in the enterprise.

11
BLOGGING IN THE ENTERPRISE: MYTHS AND REALITIES

Myth # 5: Simply Giving all Staff Blogs Will


Foster a Successful Enterprise Program
In recent months, numerous large companies have launched corporate
blogging initiatives where employees are given individual blogs and
encouraged to write about a range of issues, from personal experiences to
thoughts on industry and company developments. While these initiatives
create a new communications channel for companies, it is often challenging
for the general public to navigate through the blog smog—the hundreds or
even thousands of blogs that are available—to find content that is relevant
to their interests. As a result, corporate blogging initiatives often create a
new layer of information overload and struggle to achieve the objectives for
which they were launched.

12
BLOGGING IN THE ENTERPRISE: MYTHS AND REALITIES

Reality #5: A Successful Corporate Blogging


Initiative Requires A Robust Backend
Technology Infrastructure from the Beginning
The key to overcoming this challenge and implementing a successful,
long-term corporate blogging strategy is a technology infrastructure that
provides both end user blogging capabilities and a backend management
tools. Backend tools, such as those provided by iUpload, allow companies
to review and pick the content and perspectives that align with a companies
goals across various categories, such as sales, marketing and engineering,
and then aggregate it into a central, corporate blog.

On the aggregated corporate blog, organizations should also provide


functionality that allows readers to search across individual blogs, cat-
egories and most recent posts and leverage web feeds to allow readers to
subscribe to the corporate blog, individual blogs, or even specific categories
(such as all developer or sales support posts).

In addition to aggregation capabilities, other important elements are the


ability to provide branded blog templates, communities and permissioning.
Finally, a comprehensive enterprise blogging solution should address how
blogs integrate with corporate infrastructure like authentication services,
subscriptions, CRM systems, existing personalized portals, as well as en-
sure that blog initiatives deliver functionality, such as reporting and
archiving, to ensure compliance with corporate and regulatory
requirements.

13
For more information on the Myths & Realities of
blogging in the enterprise or to learn more about iUpload’s
corporate blogging solutions, please visit www.iupload.com.

14