$600B is enormous – roughly the size of the Belgium GDP in 2013. Fortunately, McKinsey’s report on The Social Economy clearly articulates bite sized chunks of the $600B in estimated business value from social technologies. The report lists 10 specific ways social tools add value – both within and across companies.
One critical ways social tools add value internally is #3 – Distributing Business Processes
Keeping the Global Team on the Same Page
Business process are the cogs that run the engine of global companies. They include a wide variety of activities – from estimating the component supply necessary to meet customer demand to setting up a new vendor in the ERP system. However, when companies have a global workforce, these processes may not be carried out uniformly in all locations.
Social tools provide an easy way for employees across the company to access the same information and keep business processes aligned. For example, rather than counting on a business manager to send an email out with all of the forms needed to set up a new vendor, a central portal can be created where everyone can download the same files. In addition, the portal can “go social” when the owner of the business process provides their contact information within the portal. This same owner can create a section in the portal where they not only maintain a dynamic list of FAQs, but also manage a on-going discussion forum about new questions that arise. Of course, colleagues who have questions about the specific business process can always pick up the phone to ask a details about setting up a new vendor. However, the social tools can provide a significant amount of context that makes the phone conversation more efficient.
Practical Ways to Capture Business Value
In the end, social tools – like the portal for approving new vendors – addressed at least two pressing operational issues that provide measurable business benefits:
- Ensure Consistency: Keeping the relevant files in a central portal ensures that everyone is accessing the latest version. The net result is a reduction in the cycle time needed to carry out fundamental business process and an increase in the company’s easy of doing business.
- Reduce Noise, Increased Productivity: The employee responsible for managing the vendors in our example will improve their productivity as they spend more time focused on getting vendors set up. It also reduce the “background noise” work of answering the same basic set up questions time and again.
In the future, I plan to provide more examples of the other 10 ways highlighted by the McKinsey report.