In collaboration with the Fraunhofer-Institut für Produkttechnologie (Fraunhofer Institute for Product Technology) IPT, the Forschungsinstitut für Rationalisierung (FIR) (Research Institute for Rationalisation) at the Rheinisch-Westfälischen Technischen Hochschule Aachen (RWTH Aachen University) (RWTH) carried out an online survey of more than 70 businesses of various sizes with regard to their strategies and preferences in implementing and introducing business communities. The scientists were particularly interested in discovering whether the assessment of corporate groups and SMEs was fundamentally different.
After all, social media is used today in various departments, in human resource management as well as in innovation management, marketing and customer service. Open Innovation Communities, a Facebook site, internal scientific platforms or the popular customer forums are all examples of this. Such business communities are of considerable benefit, particularly in knowledge-intensive areas. By integrating them into the value creation process, they can also help develop substantial productivity potential.
Currently there are hardly any community solutions on the market that sufficiently take into account the interests of SMEs, Marcel Schwartz, FIR scientist and community expert, tells us. “As a result, the wealth of experience of these companies and the area in which the solutions are implemented are, therefore, marginal.” The purpose of a whitepaper summarising the survey is to support SMEs in building up communities and to help software manufacturers to gear their solutions more precisely to the needs of this target group.
The survey shows, however, that SMEs and corporate groups alike prefer company-operated communities that are targeted towards their own members (target group), are driven by intangible incentives (incentive system) and operated by standard software (technological system). The contents are generated by the members. In other words: At the moment, business communities are of no great importance to companies, regardless of their size. That is, companies are not interested in investing in individual software solutions, financial incentives and resources for such schemes.