The disruptive force that is social media has only just begun to show its influence on global business, according to McKinsey analysts Jacques Bughin , Michael Chui , and James Manyika . In a new article for the McKinsey Quarterly , the authors say that companies have not really begun to see the full potential of the "value creation" social tools provide: Since “social” features can be added to almost any digital application that involves interactions among people, the range of uses is immense and measurement correspondingly challenging. Thus, we cast a wide net. We studied several hundred cases of organizations using social technologies around the globe. In addition, we examined the patterns of knowledge work within organizations and drew insights from data covering several years of surveys involving thousands of global executives on the ways their companies use social technologies. Our analysis of successful uses served as a basis for modeling potential improvements across the value chain. Of late, some bearish sentiments surround social technologies after disappointments for several companies in the capital markets. It’s worth noting, however, that today only 5 percent of communications occur on social networks. Moreover, almost all digital human interactions can ultimately become “social,” and jobs involving physical labor and the processing of transactions are giving way, across the globe, to work requiring complex interactions with other people, independent judgment, and the analysis of information. As a result, we believe social technologies are destined to play a much larger role not only in individual interactions but also in how companies are organized and managed. We estimate that using social technologies to improve collaboration and communication within and across companies could raise the productivity of interaction workers by 20 to 25 percent (Exhibit 1--below). These dramatic gains would occur thanks to shifts in the way these workers communicate—from using channels designed for one-to-one communication, such as e-mail and phone calls, to social channels, which allow “many-to-many” communication. Specifically, our research indicates that interaction workers typically spend 28 percent of each day (13 hours a week) reading, writing, and responding to e-mails. A huge amount of valuable company knowledge is locked up in them. As companies adopt social platforms, communication becomes a new form of content, and more enterprise information can become readily accessible and easily searchable rather than sequestered as inbox “dark matter.” Employees will be able to find knowledge in the organization more readily and to identify experts on various topics, given the expertise implied by their patterns of social communication. We estimate that 25 to 30 percent of total e-mail time could be repurposed if the default channel for communication were shifted to social platforms. Read Capturing business value with social technologies here .
Filed under: global business, growth, social media, Facebook, technology, communication, strategic management, McKinsey & Company, Jacques Bughin, Michael Chui, Twiitter, socia intelligence, IT strategy, James Manyika