As social media spreads around the globe, one enclave has proven stubbornly resistant, according to FastCompany: the boardroom. Perceptions remain that social media is at best a soft PR tool and at worst a time sink for already distracted employees. A new report from McKinsey Global Institute, however, makes the business case for social media a little easier to sell. According to an analysis of 4,200 companies by the business consulting firm, social technologies stand to unlock from $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in value. At the high end, that approaches Australia’s annual GDP. While 72 percent of companies use social technologies in some way, very few are anywhere near to achieving the full potential benefit, according to the survey of the consulting firm. In fact, the most powerful applications of social technologies in the global economy are largely untapped. Companies will go on developing ways to reach consumers through social technologies and gathering insights for product development, marketing, and customer service. Yet the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) finds that twice as much potential value lies in using social tools to enhance communications, knowledge sharing, and collaboration within and across enterprises. MGI’s estimates suggest that 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.
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