A recent report from KPMG has stated that Western businesses from developed economies are much slower at adopting social networking into their operational model than rivals in developing countries.
The use of social media web sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, has altered the way the world shares and consumes information, leaving some Western businesses in danger of ‘lagging behind,’ the report states.
While they may be lagging behind, a massive 70% of companies now use social media as a way to market, gather ideas, and disseminate information to customers.
However, the KPMG report found that firms in China, India, and Brazil – giants among developing economies – are 20% more likely to use social media.
While this does not fully explain the boom that developing economies are experiencing while developed economies continue to struggle, it is certainly a lesson that the West must learn from.
Tudor Aw, KMPG’s head of technology in Europe, said that emerging markets better understand the use of social media as a way to “leapfrog the competition” as a relatively low cost.
In its survey of 1,850 managers across 10 countries, KPMG found that 98% of Chinese and Brazilian managers use social media at least several times a week.
The figure of managers who do so in the UK is just 80%.
Aw also said that developing countries may have embraced social media more quickly because it has less dependence on older, ‘legacy systems’ of communication, such as email.
Wave of the future
Already one large firm is considering using social media as a replacement for email, as French IT services firm Atos has said it will scrap all internal emails by 2014.
The move is necessary, says Atos, because employees are spending too much time checking messages that are not useful. Instead, the company is trying out instant messaging tools and other email alternatives, including social networks.
Though critics say this will encourage time-wasting social media checking during work hours, the KPMG survey found that employees who are not allowed to use networks like Facebook at work do so anyway.
One third of employees at firms who have blocked social media networks have found workarounds to continue access at work.