McKinsey Quarterly recently published an article that quantifies the productivity gains that enterprises can leverage by switching over to social learning and collaboration platforms. The focus of this article was to share results from a study done across four industry segments – Financial Services, Professional Services, Advanced Manufacturing, and Consumer Packaged Goods. Here are some highlights:
1. Embracing social collaboration platforms for running operations (switching from emails and phone calls to collaboration channels that promote “many to many” communication and easier access to knowledge) can unlock $900 Billion to $1.3 Trillion in value in these industries alone.
2. Improved communication and collaboration using social technologies could increase productivity by 20 to 25%. According to McKinsey, 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.
3. The potential for social technologies to create value through increased collaboration is greatest for the professional services industry. However, McKinsey reports that Management resistance and legitimate fears of breaching client confidentiality are factors limiting the potential of social technologies, executives say. Of course, this resistance comes at a cost: service providers risk failing to satisfy the rising demands of clients, some of which could be further along the social-leaning curve than they are.
4. McKinsey has also listed several examples of how companies are leveraging social collaboration and learning in a large scale for their operations. Here are a few of them:
- New, collaborative forms of engagement with customers too can improve product development, both in speed and level of understanding. Kraft, for instance, discovered key consumer insights and significantly reduced times to market for 48 new South Beach Diet products by enlisting communities of nutrition experts and potential consumers.
- One London engineering firm uses social platforms to manage project communications with road contractors. Disruptive new business models are appearing as well. At Choosa, a global design firm, clients post requests for proposals on a company social platform. The work is crowdsourced to contractors, who submit competing design proposals.
- To improve collaboration and communication not only across an extensive branch network but also with headquarters, TD bank, for example, deployed a social platform for 85,000 employees. One result: a reduction in the number of phone calls, meetings, and unwanted e-mails.