Around 39 percent of the companies in the sector service providers of the information society use at least one social software application in their business workflow. In this context, applications such as discussion forums, social network services, wikis or weblogs are used, for example, in internal communication and knowledge management as well as in customer management, external communication and within the scope of projects with partners or freelancers. This is the result of a survey among service providers of the information society conducted by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim in cooperation with the credit reference agency Creditreform, Neuss, in March 2009 (details regarding the survey are provided below).

In March 2008 only about one third among the service providers of the information society, comprising ICT service providers and knowledge-intensive service providers, stated to employ social software applications. "Within one year, the proportion of companies using social software applications in this sector rose by around 20 percent," says Jenny Meyer, researcher at the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim. The in-house use of social software is particularly important to the companies in the sector service providers of the information society. Of the companies employing social software applications, approximately 76 percent use them for internal exchange of information, around 70 percent apply them in the field of knowledge management and around 66 percent use them for internal communication.

Advertising companies and firms in the branches software and IT services in particular feature a high use of social software applications. Around 60 and 58 percent respectively use at least one of those applications. Technical consultants and planners have clearly increased their use of such applications over the past twelve months. While only twelve percent of technical consultants and planners used social software applications in the first quarter 2008, the numbers peak at around 43 percent in the first quarter 2009. Compared to the first quarter 2008, architects, management consultants and companies in the branch research and development also increasingly use social software applications. In March 2009, 29 percent of architects use social software compared to around 22 percent in March 2008. The number of companies from the branch research and development using social software applications rose from around 24 percent to approximately 30 percent. Currently, 38 percent of management consultants use social software compared to around 36 percent in the first quarter 2008.

The business survey by ZEW/Creditreform

Approximately 1,000 companies participate in the survey, which is conducted on a quarterly basis. The economic sector of information society service providers consists of information and communications technology (ICT) service providers (firms active in the software, ICT specialised trade, IT and telecommunications industries) and knowledge-intensive service providers (firms active in tax consulting and auditing, management consulting, architecture, technical consulting and planning, research and development as well as advertising). An overview of the ZEW/Creditreform business survey is provided on the ZEW project site. For further information in German language only, please consult our homepage.

Note on statistical projections

The Centre for European Economic Research generates a representative analysis for the surveyed sector based on the answers provided by the participating firms.

For further information please contact

Dr. Jenny Meyer, E-mail: meyer@zew.de

Date

20.04.2009

Contact

Press Officer

Phone: +49 0621 1235-133

sabine.elbert@zew.de