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    In this report, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) examines the economic impact

    of social technologies. By looking into how social technologies are being used

    today and how they are likely to evolve in the coming years in five sectors of the

    economy (four commercial sectors and the social sector) we have identified ten

    value-creating “levers” that can be used across the value chain, from product

    development through after-sale customer service. Importantly, we find that the

    use of social technologies to improve communication and collaboration within and

    across enterprises could contribute two-thirds of the $900 billion to $1.3 trillion

    in value that we estimate can be created across the four commercial sectors

    we study.


    Capturing the full potential value from the use of social technologies will require

    transformational changes in organizational structures, processes, and practices,

    as well as a culture compatible with sharing and openness.


    “Social” is a feature, not a product. Social features can be applied to almost

    any technology that could involve interactions among people (e.g., the Internet,

    telephone, or television). A social component—a button to “like” or comment—

    can be added to virtually any IT-enabled interaction, suggesting an almost

    limitless range of applications.


    Businesses have just begun to understand the ways in which social technologies

    can create value. Our research suggests that there is a large untapped potential

    in using social technologies to improve communication, knowledge sharing, and

    collaboration. These social technologies of organizations could provide a new

    productivity boost among the high-skill interaction workers whose roles have

    been relatively untouched by productivity-enhancing technology, thus improving

    the performance of organizations, industries, and even national economies. At the

    same time, our research indicates that companies have only just begun to exploit

    the potential for value creation through use of social technologies in ways that are

    more well known today, such as connecting with consumers and B2B customers,

    and deriving deeper insights for product development or marketing.


    Social technologies address the most important aspects of an interaction

    worker’s job. Typically, such a worker spends 65 percent of a workday

    collaborating and communicating with others. This includes 28 percent of work

    time reading, writing, or responding to e-mail, and 19 percent of working hours

    trying to track down information needed to complete tasks.60