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You heard it here first – few companies are realising full value from social

You heard it here first – few companies are exploiting the potential of social effectively. But don’t just take it from us. No less than be bastions of value creation, the consultants consultancy, McKinsey & Co say so too.

Now I would like to think my old alma mater were reading our blog to come to that conclusion but to be absolutely honest they probably aren’t. Maybe they were sitting quietly at the back taking notes at our session at Think Digital 2012 when we said precisely this – and event referenced them into the bargain – but then again perhaps they didn’t.

However we have been saying for as long as we have been around that our job is to help organisations to identify and harness the value generating potential of social technologies and the mindset that underpins their use. We have also been saying for just as long that whilst marketing and customer engagement is a valid part of that, it is only really scratching the surface and it’s all the other ways it can be harnessed that are of particular interest to us.

And now our stance and work is being endorsed by top flight consultancies which, by the way, are a whole lot more expensive than us – but have only just cottoned on.

So here is what the Mckinsey Global Instiute (MGI) have to say. They say that “While 72 percent of companies use social technologies in some way, very few are anywhere near to achieving the full potential benefit. In fact, the most powerful applications of social technologies in the global economy are largely untapped.”

I won’t quibble with the figures and I embrace the sentiment because our work would endorse and support those findings.

How do they explain it? Well they go on to say that companies will continue to “reach consumers through social technologies and gathering insights for product development, marketing, and customer service.” but that “MGI finds that twice as much potential value lies in using social tools to enhance communications, knowledge sharing, and collaboration within and across enterprises.”

Yes absolutely. We could go further to include the value to innovation, transparency, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding et al. We would go further still and say that when you look at how the boundaries of the company (as McKinsey might define it) become increasingly blurred and we begin to utilise the same technologies to reach up and down the value chain and by reaching out to the crowd, there is even more value to be realised. But maybe they didn’t go to our session at the CROWD event, where we even referenced them, otherwise they might have included it in their research. Be sure to find their next bit of research will pick up on it.

They conclude with the insight that “To reap the full benefit of social technologies, organizations must transform their structures, processes, and cultures: they will need to become more open and nonhierarchical and to create a culture of trust. Ultimately, the power of social technologies hinges on the full and enthusiastic participation of employees who are not afraid to share their thoughts and trust that their contributions will be respected. Creating these conditions will be far more challenging than implementing the technologies themselves.”

Hear hear! Quite so, and you can do an awful lot worse than use the 7s model to evaluate just how you go about doing that – as we have said for quite some time now.

If you want the complete McKinsey report you can get it here, and in the good social tradition it is absolutely free. It is, as you would expect, rigorous and well researched and written, and I recommend it.

In the meantime if you want advice or to talk about any of these things then please feel free to contact us.

You can also watch out for Social Media Week in your city because it’s bound to feature.

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