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Will social software change the future of work?

My core thesis in Enterprise 2.0 is that social software will change the future of work.

So in an otherwise underwhelming update of McKinsey’s global survey on the state of web 2.0 in companies, I was therefore intrigued by the finding that companies satisfied with their use of web 2.0 “are not only using more technologies but also leveraging them to change management practices and organizational structures.”

Here are some of the data points that appear to back that up:

  • 38% of respondents said that their company’s use of web 2.0 technologies and tools has changed the way they communicate with customers and suppliers;
  • 16% said it has changed the way they hire and retain talent;
  • The same number said it has created major new roles or functions in their organization;
  • 14% said it has changed the way their organization is structured.

Before we get too carried away, it’s worth noting that 36% of respondents said that it hadn’t changed the way the company is managed and organized at all, although when you break that down only 8% of those who report the highest satisfaction levels with their use of web 2.0 believe that to be the case.

For me, the report is still too lightweight for a heavyweight organization like McKinsey. Maybe there’s a lot more data or analysis that they’re not making public. If so, that’s a shame because businesses need as much as they can get at the moment. If not, then they need to look at some of their more pedestrian survey questions for next year and go much, much deeper.

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