How social tools can help you become more agile

How social tools can help you become more agile

A recent McKinsey&Company survey (see link below) identified that a new generation of communication and collaboration tools brings major benefits to organizations in terms of decreased costs and increased productivity. The survey shows that this new generation of tools is enabling employees to collaborate in improved and innovative ways.

Respondents say improved communication is the feature that has most benefited their business. These collaboration and communication tools make it easier for people to work together and provide real-time information to quickly make fact based decisions. When asked about the most beneficial features of these social collaboration tools, respondents most often cite real-time interactions, the ability to collaborate with specific groups and cross-platform availability. What’s more, respondents believe the same three features will most improve how people work at their organization in the future.

The McKinsey survey caught our eye because our outsourcing governance platform TRAC is part of the family of social tools addressed in the survey. It’s cloud based, helps teams to collaborate and enables real-time interactions. It also has other features the survey marked critical for this type of tools, which are that they allow users to search information in context, provide a distinctive user experience, and integrate with other enterprise applications. Because these tools create searchable content and management information as a by-product of day-to-day collaboration, McKinsey believes that the new-generation tools could even begin to replace e-mail as the default channel of written communication.

These findings very much align with our experience in the use of TRAC. The system alleviates employees from administrative tasks, simplifies (cross organizational) governance processes, improves communication, collaboration and transparency. This results in reduced governance costs, better realization of objectives and better client / supplier relationships.

The survey also found that currently few companies are putting these tools to work. But at the ones that are, executives report above-average benefits. Because these tools are integrated into employees’ daily work all of the information is digitalized in a structured way providing transparency, management information and allowing quick decision making. At the process level, most executives participating in the survey say their companies have focused both their social and digital efforts on external, customer facing processes, such as public relations, marketing and customer relationship management, or CRM. The use of these tools in back office, procurement or supplier facing processes is clearly lagging.

TRAC is the first next-generation team-collaboration tool that introduces these features to the space of outsourcing governance. As a cloud based solution, it bridges organizational boundaries that traditionally impede outsourcing governance and its 2 side access capability allows client and supplier teams to work together in an unprecedented way. This way of collaboration makes the day-to-day work more outcome based, instead of company, team or function based and allows flatter organizational hierarchies.

The report ends by saying that social tools (specifically, newer team-collaboration tools) promise new levels of benefits and – eventually, through better communication – could bring about profound changes in the organization. As past surveys have show and the latest results conform, organization and technology are closely connected. As organizations face growing demands to become more agile, social collaboration technologies will enable companies to explore new organization structures that are more project based and less hierarchical. Respondents see even more benefits when they digitize business processes and use of data-driven insights at the same time.