The ROI of social collaboration

productivity gainsIncreasing employee collaboration, and indeed wider stakeholder collaboration, is an oft trumpeted benefit of social business software.  I discussed how to measure the ROI of such efforts last year, and the the issue crops up frequently when I discuss things with those in the industry.

In 2011 McKinsey had a go at determining the typical ROI from social collaboration tools in their report called How Social Tools are Extending the Organization.  They found the following key benefits.

Internal purposes:

  • Increasing speed to access knowledge
  • Reducing communication costs
  • Increasing speed to access internal experts

Customer purposes:

  • Increasing effectiveness of marketing
  • Increasing customer satisfaction
  • Reducing marketing costs

A whitepaper by Chess Media tries to add more flesh to this difficult subject in their whitepaper on The-Business-Value-of-Collaboration [pdf].  They outline a number of case studies whereby companies have achieved some substantial wins by using social collaboration tools.

They reveal how Intuit used collaboration tools to reduce the amount of time it took to develop new products, whilst at the same time increasing the number of those products.

Likewise, Oce, a global printing company, reduced intranet costs by €300,000 by implementing the idea of an employee.

Vistaprint meanwhile found that onboarding time for new employees was reduced by 50% by using social collaboration tools.

Those are some hard and fast benefits from using these sort of tools.  The Chess Media whitepaper then goes on to discuss softer benefits such as improved morale, better communication and so on, which whilst nice are by their nature very difficult to measure.

Do you measure the ROI of your collaboration tools?


3 thoughts on “The ROI of social collaboration

  1. Completely agree. There is far too much hype and not enough rigor around social collaboration. Agree with NickBlack01 that fluffy metrics don't warrant further consideration. The tough part is measuring time relative to impressions. Traditional marketing has been around the number of 'eyeballs' on your logo, but social media is giving us the ability to measure actual engagement.

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