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African Buisness News, Kenya Business News

Social Network-The Gateway To Business Growth

Kenyan businesses looking for fresh growth momentum in the next three years must adopt new media as a key platform for engagement with customers and employees, a new survey has revealed.

The world’s top business leaders now see technology as a key determinant of organization success and a factor of production they must give more attention to so as to stay ahead of the competition.

The survey by global technology giant IBM says technology has become so central to the competitiveness of modern organizations, including national economies, that most business leaders now consider it the number one growth driver, ahead of people and market factors.Of the 1,709 chief executives interviewed in more than 60 countries, including Kenya, the majority (71 per cent) now see technology as the most important external determinant of success – ahead of people skills at 69 per cent and market factors (68 per cent).

This outcome marks a significant change in how business leaders ranked success drivers four years ago when technology finished third behind people skills and market factors.

The executives believe that if properly applied, technology can inspire new models of working, increase collaboration between internal and external parties as well as create new opportunities for growth.Tony Mwai, the country general manager for IBM East Africa, says most executives are now focused on how best their firms can ride on the connections technology is creating to become more efficient in core operation areas such as supply chain management.Most are convinced that effective use of technology, particularly the social media, will make or break the success of an organization in the next three years. The paradox is, however, that of the nearly 2,000 CEOs polled, only 16 per cent are using social media as a platform to connect with customers.

That number is expected to rise to 57 per cent in the next three to five years, making it imperative for business leaders to upscale their tech skills.

The study also found that businesses that outperform their peers place a 30 per cent greater emphasis on openness — often characterised by greater use of social media — as a key enabler of collaboration and innovation.

Though they have been slow to pick it up, most executives acknowledge the emergence of social media as a major tool at their disposal to connect with customers and employees, especially the younger generation.

“Social networking has, and is continuing to be significant in how business is done,” the report that was officially released last week says.

Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Linked- in, are singled out as social media platforms that have made an impact across markets and industries.

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