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McKinsey studies the value of social technology for business

The research arm of McKinsey & Company, a major consulting firm, has released an interesting report, The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies. It explains how social can be tapped for demonstrable value.

We all know that ‘social’ has exploded among consumers and that organizations, both public and private, are working to obtain value from it. The McKinsey report studies the value that can be created and guides us with advice on how to optimize it.

This should grab our attention:

  • While 72 percent of companies use social technologies in some way, very few are anywhere near to achieving the full potential benefit. In fact, the most powerful applications of social technologies in the global economy are largely untapped.
  • … by fully implementing social technologies, companies have an opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers—high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals—by 20 to 25 percent.
  • These technologies, which create value by improving productivity across the value chain, could potentially contribute $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value.

The McKinsey study emphasizes the opportunity to improve communication and collaboration. Opportunities exist to communicate:

  • With and among employees
  • With customers
  • With the extended enterprise (supply chain, channel partners, etc.)
  • With investors and the community at large

Organizations should recognize and have a strategy to take advantage of the opportunities.

Risk, security, and assurance professionals can also use social technologies in a variety of ways, including:

  • Socializing new policies, such as for information security, to obtain insights on proposed standards and improve adoption once they are issued
  • Virtual risk assessment workshops and forums
  • Surveying employees and partners to take the pulse of the organization
  • Sharing information and best practices across the organization

The report touches on the potential to mine the Big Data created by social. But, in my opinion it doesn’t do justice to the enormous potential.

For a primer on Big Data and its value, see this post. Lest we forget there are risks with Big Data, Crowe Horwath has just published some thought leadership on potential issues.

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