Far from being the time-sink that many employers fear, social technologies could be the path to greater productivity, customer engagement and internal communications, according to a study by McKinsey & Company.
The study found that improvements in operating margins were positively correlated with the percentage of employees for whom social technologies were integrated into their day-to-day work.
The survey found that 64% of financial services companies had adopted social technologies. That ranks the industry second last, with the energy sector being the laggard, but given the highly regulated nature of the financial sector, that 64% might be higher than expected.
Across all industries, social networking had become the most commonly adopts, at 50%, while blogs were in use by 41% of respondents. Video sharing was used by 38%, while micro-blogging (such as the use of Twitter) was used by 23%.
When asked what they were using social technologies for, 75% said they were scanning the environment outside of their organization for new ideas. Not surprisingly, social networking and blogs were most heavily used in externally focused processes that gather competitive intelligence and support marketing efforts.
Respondents from fully networked organizations were most likely to say social technologies will lead their companies to adopt entirely new processes under current conditions and were more likely to do so even more aggressively if all constraints were removed.