By 2014, 20 percent of business users will use social networking services rather than e-mail as their main tool for interpersonal communications, says Gartner.
As companies build internal social networks or let staffers use their Facebook and LinkedIn accounts for business purposes, those tools will be more effective than e-mail for activities like status updates and expertise location.
"The rigid distinction between e-mail and social networks will erode," says research VP Matt Cain. "E-mail will take on many social attributes, such as contact brokering while social networks will develop richer e-mail capabilities. While e-mail is already almost fully penetrated in the corporate space, we expect to see steep growth rates for sales of premises- and cloud-based social networking services. "