The future of collaboration is here

A new generation of social tools is transforming the way we work together – and the very structure of organisations


McKinsey & Co has a long tradition of taking the pulse around digital social tools, often dubbed Enterprise 2.0. While enterprise 2.0 technologies have become in business, the most recent results from the latest McKinsey Global Survey1 provide three new insights: 

1. The new generation of social tools are better at enabling employees to collaborate in improved and innovative ways.2 Respondents say improved internal communication is the feature of social tools that has most benefited their businesses. They also expect that, in the coming years, enabling better communication will be one of the ways these tools could bring about fundamental changes at their organisations. 

2. Social tools benefits are enhanced by, as well as enhance, digital transformation. From asking executives about their companies’ use of social tools, digital technologies, and big data in 18 different business processes, we gathered that using social begets better use of these other digital technologies. When organisations digitise a process’s work flow (which happens most often with customer-facing processes), respondents say that using social tools in that same process has enabled their companies’ overall digital efforts. What’s more, some executives report greater benefits – decreased costs and increased productivity, for exampleif they digitise and use social tools in a given process. Several benefits are greater still if the company uses data collected from social interactions among employees and with customers. 

3. Digitisation combined with social tools lead to much more agile companies. We also asked executives as to how the conjunction of new social tools and their digital programmes will help creating more agile organisations. The answer is a definite yes.