Links for today:
This article sums up the focus points that have to be taken into account if you are trying to establish a useful and usable corporate guideline for internal social media tools. Additionally, it links to a whole batch of best practice examples, from IBM and Sun up to the old lady of journalism, the BBC.
There seems to be quite an ongoing discussion about the ROI of Enterprise 2.0 applications, which typically range from trying to define exactly what Enterprise 2.0 is and, more important, how to measure and rate its value. Especially the latter is complicated, because we are dealing with a mixture of financial and technical changes coupled with more ’soft‘ changes that relate more to the social structure and communications formations of the enterprise than to hard and easy measurable facts.
I have recently pointed out that a solution would be to establish a set of sociological approaches, and i am not alone with this opinion – over on the ThoughtFarmer blog there is an interesting article that integrates some elements from network theory in a proposal of how to measure the value of an emerging Enterprise 2.0 landscape.
Again, I have to come back to what I have written about the ROI of Enterprise 2.0 applications. Here and here I phrased an idea of using sociological tool sets to grasp the outcomes and possible benefits of using blogs, wikis, social software, and other so-called Web 2.0 apps in organizations. Granted, the main organizational form in Germany is very rigid and hierarchical, and might pose quite an obstacle to overcome in this regard, so I really dig this outline of a quality metric for Enterprise 2.0 that was posted on the blog of Ethan Yarbrough. It’s more a rough sketch and by no means a detailed strategy yet, but it neatly incorporates a mix of quantitative and qualitative measures, which can yield, as I have said before, reliable and valid results.
As i mentioned here before, i think that a sociological perspective might be able to shed light on the much-debated Enterprise 2.0 & ROI-topic. Well, so how could a starting point for this approach look? This list of social software usage offers some promising hints. Granted, these examples are all formulated in a way that measuring hard figures might seem nearly impossible at first, but you have to keep in mind that social interaction between employees can also yield a measurable revenue – even if it is only one employee posing a question.
Apart from individual use or hype that hardly relates to your average company, the value and ROI of Enterprise 2.0 tools in organizations is still questionable. The main problems can be found outlined in these articles:
- Dion Hinchcliffe: How to measure the ROI of Enterprise 2.0 tools [Link]
- Also take a look at his slides from the Web 2.0 Expo [Link, via]
- A more realistic and pragmatic viewpoint comes from Dennis Howlett [Link]
What makes me wonder is that, coming from a sociological background, i don’t see any insurmountable problems in measuring, and consequently determining, ROI of so-called ’soft‘ correlations. The social sciences have developed a strong and proven tool set for exactly this type of phenomena. Of course, the adapting of these tool sets to the enterprise could require more resources than management is willing to provide, but i think that, on a more manageable level, sound results can be found by even small teams and small initiatives.