Altimeter recently released a new report that looks at "making the business case for enterprise social networks" (ESNs). The crux of the report is that too many projects focus on the technology solution instead of seeing the wider business value - cost effectively building relationships. In their words:

"It’s about relationships, not technology. The problem: Most companies approach enterprise social networks as a technology deployment and fail to understand that the new relationships created by enterprise social networks are the source for value creation. Yesteryear, internal technology departments could force software on business units, but in today’s consumerized world, business units can adopt enterprise software, often without IT ever knowing. As a result, a new approach is required that focuses on four key ways that relationships create value through enterprise social networks:

  1. Encourage sharing
  2. Capture knowledge
  3. Enable action
  4. Empower employees

Anyone interested in social business should take a read as its full of great insights to help you understand the benefits of ESNs and to avoid the common pitfalls that frequently undo costly implementations.