Social technologies are driving businesses forward

We are all about social at the moment. The SMAC [social media, analytics, and cloud] acronym is all over the web and is being fueled by the more innovative of the providers. At SSON, we're determined to ride the crest of this wave.

I recently came across a great report on how social technologies are driving business success. It’s the result of a collaboration between Google and Millward Brown, and reflects the opinions of 2,700 executives across France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. The report hinges on the fact that, although it's becoming second nature for people to share opinions online, until recently this was not reflected at the workplace. New tools are emerging however, that make it easy to connect and the result is that traditional working practices are being "disruptive" in a very positive way.

And whereas not so long ago, organizations were still trying to block social websites [a waste of employees time], today, social tools are being recognized as holding the key to a more productive way of doing business. [I'll say that again: today, social tools are being recognized as holding the key to a more productive way of doing business.] And that's exciting! In fact, there are three conclusions the report comes to that should interest you all:

  • first, the survey found that senior employees use social tools far more regularly than the younger generation of workers;
  • secondly, 81% of high-growth businesses are using social tools to expand and improve the way teams collaborate and share knowledge; and,
  • thirdly, successful workers are more than twice as likely to use social tools in the workplace than their less successful colleagues.

Anyone working in shared services will know that the trend is towards collaborating across regions, across functions, across silos, and across organizations [through BPO]. As a result, information sharing has never been more important than it is today.

Some of the report’s other core findings:

  • only a quarter of those surveyed never use inhouse social tools
  • 23% use inhouse social tools daily, and 57% use them once a week at least
  • 32% use external social media for work every day
  • Spain and Italy lead Europe in the use of social tools [74%]
  • Germany lags Europe in the use of social tools [53%]. Germany also displayed the lowest figures for social tools’ perceived impact on attracting talent [27%]
  • social tools are predominantly used for finding people, information, or expertise [41%]; collaboration and knowledge sharing [37%]; building professional relationships [34%]; and reducing the volume of e-mails [31%]
  • 80% of high-growth companies use social tools to improve "connectivity" [knowledge sharing]
  • social tools are estimated to save 2-3 hours per week, per employee [replacing time spent on common tasks]
  • 72% say social tools improve the exchange of ideas across geographically dispersed teams
  • In Spain, 89% believe social tools improve innovation
  • Social tools and business networking applications adoption rate is high in creative media [77%], consumer goods [74%], and retail [72%]. It is lower in transport [57%] and manufacturing [59%] industries
  • high-growth companies are more likely to use social tools to improve work quality and innovation [70% in Italy, though only 28% in Germany]

See the full report