What Would You Do With 25% More Productivity?
What could your business accomplish if your employees were 25% more productive? If your marketing and sales people were 25% more productive, how much more revenue could they generate? If your operations and administrative staff were 25% more productive, how much cost could you extract? What effect would the combined boost in revenue and reduction in cost have on your bottom line? If only there were a way, right?
A recent McKinsey Global Institute report entitled The Social Economy: Unlocking Value and Productivity Through Social Technology asserts that by fully implementing social technologies, companies have an opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers (high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals) by 20 to 25 percent. How? Those workers currently spend 28% of their week reading and answering email, 19% searching and gathering information, and 14% communicating and collaborating internally, among other unproductive tasks. Social media treats messages as content, which can reduce - by as much as 35% - the time people spend sifting through company information. Further the tools built into social media can allow workers to collaborate much more efficiently, both inside and outside the organization.
Google+ has quietly built a huge user base and within a year become the fourth biggest social network. Since Google+ has been in operation it’s managed to build a base of 250 million users, 150 million of whom use the service monthly and 75 million who use the service daily. Google+ active users spend 12 minutes a day on the site and over 60 minutes across all Google products.
Yet, stories in the press regularly report that that Google+ is a “ghost town” and is fighting a losing battle in the social media war against the likes of Facebook. They cite engagement numbers and typically make the argument that none of their friends are on Google+, they’re on Facebook, and no one has time for another social network, so therefore G+ is doomed. It reminds me of Mark Twain’s famous quote that “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” upon hearing that his obituary had been published in the New York Journal.
Early adopters flocked to Google+ in large part due to its unique set of features and user benefits. In November of 2011, Google announced that businesses could begin building brand pages in Google+ and in January, 2012 Google announced that it would include G+ into its search results. Together this created a huge incentive for marketers to include Google+ in their marketing mix. The strategy had some suggesting that the goal of Google+ wasn’t engagement at all - it was about collecting data to create more targeted ads (which it sells to businesses.)
But maybe that’s only part of the strategy. What if another part of the plan were to position Google+ to businesses as a productivity tool, along with other apps, like Gmail and Google Drive?
To do that, you’d need a platform that’s built for business. First, you’d want an easy way to compartmentalize people’s activity. Google+’s Circles feature allows you to bucket contacts into groups (coworkers, customers, prospects, friends, family, etc.) You’d also want to make it easier for people to collaborate. The Hangouts feature in G+ allows you to conduct voice calls and video conferences with up to 10 people simultaneously and save the session for later use, converting it to content. Hangouts also allow users to share and view Google Docs, which themselves were designed for collaboration, featuring real-time editorial, version control, and easy access via the cloud.
Beyond the productivity gains an organization can achieve by using Google apps, think for a second about the direct savings of not having to support these business processes in-house. Fewer dollars invested in servers and licensing, and less time invested in maintenance and system support. For many companies, these costs have skyrocketed into the hundreds-of-thousands of dollars. A new phone system alone can easily cost an organization $50,000+. What if instead, an organization implemented Google Voice, giving each user their own phone number and free calling to any number in the US or Canada using the same voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) technology used by today’s enterprise phone systems?
In November, 2011, one of the largest IT companies in the world, Atos announced that by mid 2013, all of its 80,000 employees in 42 countries will stop using email. The CEO, Thierry Breton said they will replace email with social business tools. He noted that only 1 in 10 emails received by his team were useful and cited a statistic that from a recent study by the business watchdog ORSE, which argues that reading email messages is terrible for concentration, as it takes 64 seconds to get back on the ball after doing so. Atos is not alone.
Many other companies are looking at social business as a way to improve productivity and reduce costs. 4 million businesses and other organizations, including government, schools, and nonprofit enterprises already use Google Apps.
Google has positioned itself perfectly as the platform of choice. As Google+ gets better integrated, more business clients will begin using it to improve their productivity.
It’s a brilliant strategy - owning social through the office - and it could mean even bigger problems for other social networks. Over 50% of businesses block or restrict employees access to Facebook while at work. If businesses are using Google+ for communication, users (and Google) don’t have to fight for access. From the users perspective, once you’re already using G+ for business, why wouldn’t you use it personally as well, especially if you can access it any time? Aside from the other social networks, everybody wins. Google gets more eyeballs and more engagement, businesses get more productivity at less cost, and users get better access with less stress.
Social business is poised to disrupt the status quo. Crowd Hydrant supplies the content, social media, and technology expertise that organizations need to take advantage of this important shift in business. To learn more CONTACT US today. We offer strategy, planning and execution. We're affordable and effective. We’ll begin by consulting with you and provide innovative solutions to help you improve your productivity, reduce costs, and communicate more effectively.