Porter Novelli

“Standout organizations are 57% more likely to allow their employees to use social mobile devices,” according to Heidi Ambler, IBM’s director of social software product management.

This stat, and others that cite the benefits of large organizations weaving social tools into the way employees work, have C-level executives finally ready to embrace social into their corporate cultures.

Gone are the days of organizations blocking social sites like Facebook and Twitter, and it’s about time. Companies now understand that their employees will be more productive if they can bring their own devices and use social platforms to interact with other employees about the work they are doing.

“The results are clear,” Ambler says. “We have market data and research that shows the benefits to revenue and profitability. Research shows social media can get companies closer to their customers too.”

Enterprises will spend $3.5B in 2016 in enterprise social software designed to increase employee productivity and connect with their increasingly social customer base. That number is up from $0.5B in 2010.

Investing in these tools is a step in the right direction, but to fully realize their potential, these systems need to be integrated – with each other and with traditional tools like corporate intranets.  Social programs must be engaging, transparent and nimble, and they must be woven in to everything a company does.

With the platforms in place, companies also need people to manage these tools and make sure employees understand how to use them correctly. As experts and early adopters, digital PR agencies should increasingly look for opportunities to help enterprise customers use social tools to drive business results.