In two words; the answer is "social networking". But, it comes with the condition that there are firm metrics to prove that it's helping the bottomline.

This, from the research gurus at Gartner according to a new report outlining their predictions for the future of customer relationship management.

Here's what's in the fine print:

- Everyone loves to talk about using social networking tools for better collaboration in the workplace. Businesses, however, will be less inclined to adopt them; unless they are part of a larger strategy to reach customers and come with a solid plan to increase revenue. By year's end, Gartner predicts 80% of companies worldwide will require a business case before they pull the trigger on social applications.

- As of the start of this year, only 50% of Fortune 1000 companies had an online marketing budget. By the end of next year, it will be 90%.

- Facebook is on pace to have 600 million users by the end of this year. It will be they largest social network in all but 25 countries (There are about 200 nations total).

- Those 25 countries do not include China or India (rising world superpowers).