According to the McKinsey Global Institute, improved collaboration and communication using social technologies• could add between 900 billion and 1.3 trillion dollars to the economy. These impressive gains stem largely from the flow of information feeding today’s “knowledge worker.” Today’s worker spends around 70% of her time communicating (e-mail, etc.), looking for information, and collaborating with colleagues. Social technologies reduce the friction for finding, sharing, and using information which translates into big productivity gains and money in the bank for adoptive companies.
Although McKinsey found 70% of companies using social technologies, policies and culture can get in the way. As Quentin Hardy reported in the New York Times, “The main challenges are organizational and personal, as managers have to develop nonhierarchical cultures, where data and knowledge are exposed and shared, not hoarded.”
Too often companies and employees are guilty of restricting and resisting the flow of information. Companies who resists equipping their knowledge workers with modern social tools, be it smartphones or wikis, are actively handicapping their operations. Employees who prescribe to a similar mentality, often under the false pretense of added job security, might find similar repercussions to growth.
As with any technology, disruption comes before adoption. With a trillion dollars at play, it should make adoption a much easier pill to swallow.
• For the scope of the study, social technologies are defined as “IT products and services that enable the formation and operation of online communities, where participants have distributed access to content and distributed rights to create, add, and/or modify content.”