RIT Marketing Professor Neil Hair Featured in Cisco’s Social Networking Study

E. Philip Saunders College of Business part of collaborative global research team

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Corporate use of social media has certainly grown in recent months—
with many of the more advanced users developing specific metrics
and key performance indicators to ensure strategies are delivering real results.

—Neil Hair, RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business

Neil Hair says companies are using social media to collaborate within and between organizations for human resources, supplier and customer relationship management, and collaboration and innovation of stakeholders—amassing an army of vocal advocates to help spread marketing messages, and doing so with advanced metrics for measuring performance.

Hair, an assistant professor of marketing in the E. Philip Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology, participated in Cisco’s third-party global study designed to assess how organizations use consumer social networking tools to collaborate externally. The research—conducted between April and September 2009—revealed the need for stronger governance and IT involvement and is the first of a two-part series that Cisco has commissioned to explore the impact of social networking and collaboration applications in the enterprise.

“A whole host of social media channels were discussed and not just the more popular consumer ones like Twitter and Facebook,” Hair explains. “Wikis, blogs, electronic community platforms, video on demand and instant messaging are highly regarded with some of our thought leaders in this space—which included a number of local social media companies as well as Kodak and Xerox.”

The new Cisco study is based on extensive interviews with 105 participants representing 97 organizations in 20 countries around the globe. The research was carried out by leading business schools in the United States and Europe—including RIT’s Saunders College of Business, IESE Business School in Spain and Henley Business School in the United Kingdom.

According to Cisco, the study findings revealed that the business world is in the early stages of adopting these consumer-based social networking tools and identifying key challenges, such as the need for increased governance and IT involvement, which may impact the integration and adoption of these new platforms and technologies.

“The honeymoon period is also over for those advanced users,” Hair says. “Many are looking to develop formal policies and processes for encouraging the use of this new world of collaboration, not only to police and protect intellectual property that might otherwise escape corporate boundaries. The future is also bright for social media enabled partnerships. Without exception those 105 companies interviewed across the globe saw only growth in this space. Exciting times!”

Editor’s Note: One of eight colleges at RIT, the E. Philip Saunders College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB International) and enrolls more than 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students. The Saunders College and its entrepreneurial Venture Creations Incubator works in partnership with RIT’s Albert J. Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to integrate business education with RIT’s world leading technical and creative programs. The business school also launched an executive MBA online program in fall 2009.

In six consecutive years since 2004, Saunders undergraduate programs have ranked in the top five percent of all U.S. business schools, according to U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges. In 2009, it was named one of the “Great Schools for Accounting Majors!” in The Princeton Review's “The Best 368 Colleges.”