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mckinsey-reported-benefits-of-social-technology-nov11.gif69% of global executives who say their companies have benefited from the adoption of social technologies (such as social networking, blogs, video sharing, or microblogging) say that their� technology adoption has increased the effectiveness of their marketing, according to [registration page] a November 2011 report from McKinsey. Data from “How Social Technologies are Extending the Organization” indicates this to represent 9.5% growth from 63% of respondents in 2010, and 28% growth from 54% in 2009. Other benefits reported include increasing customer satisfaction, cited by 47% of executives, down slightly from half in 2010, and reduced marketing costs, cited by 43%, also down slightly from 45% in 2010. Social technology adoption is also seen to be beneficial for internal purposes: roughly 3 in 4 executives pointed to an increased speed to access knowledge, while about 6 in 10 cited a reduction in communication costs.

Overall Adoption Continues Climb

According to the report, 1 in 2 companies currently use social networking tools, up 25% from 40% in 2010, and almost double the 28% who reported their use in 2009. Blogs are the next most popular technology, employed by 41% of respondents, up from 38% in 2010. 38% report using video sharing tools, representing 15% growth from 33% in 2010, while 23% use microblogging tools, rising 19% from 19% last year.

High tech, telecommunications companies show the highest adoption rates, with 86% currently using at least 1 social technology tool, ahead of business, legal, professional services companies (77%), public administration and pharmaceutical companies (both at 74%), and retailing and transportation companies (both at 69%).

According to a study conducted in Q4 2010 by Unica, a combined 89% of North American and European marketers either used (53%) or planned to use (36%) social media marketing, while a combined 87% either used (50%) or planned to use (37%) rich media channels such as videos and podcasts.

Technologies Used to Spur New Ideas

Among the respondents using social technologies, the largest proportion reported using them to scan the external environment (75%) and to find new ideas (73%), with project management (55%) and strategic plan development (43%) trailing relatively distantly. Respondents also reported that different technologies were better suited to specific types of business processes: for example, microblogging (13%) was more popular than wikis (9%) for scanning the external environment, but wikis (17%) were far more popular than microblogging (5%) for managing projects.

Boundaries Expected to Blur

Looking ahead 3 to 5 years, many respondents expect profound organizational changes as a result of fewer constraints on social technologies at their companies: 35% say that the boundaries between employees, vendors, and customers will blur, while roughly one-third expect that teams will self-organize and that decisions will be based primarily on the examination of data rather than reliance on opinion and experience. Roughly one-quarter also say that their organization’s formal hierarchy will become much flatter or disappear together, while about one-fifth expect financial transparency to increase dramatically.

About the Data: For its report, McKinsey conducted an online survey of 4,261 global executives across sectors, geographics, company sizes, tenures, and functional specialties.

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