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Enterprise Collaboration News, Reviews

CMSWire Tweet Jam: The Search for ROI #SocBizChat

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Establishing the return on investment (ROI) of any tech purchase is a challenge, but the challenge is amplified when looking at social tools. Clear cut formulas don't cut it.   What signs of progress should companies look for? And when should they expect to see these signs?

Join us tomorrow as we discuss these questions and more at our monthly Tweet Jam! 

How the Freemium Model Outflanks the ROI Question

2014-21-May-DJ.jpgNobody goes to the store (or these days, iTunes) specifically to buy an obnoxiously catchy pop song that they’ve never heard before. Chances are they’ve heard it for free somewhere first. No offense to Pandora and Spotify, but let’s call this the radio model. A song is played for free, the listener likes it, and only then makes a buying decision. This is actually a very good description of how and why enterprise social network licenses get purchased, and a telling factor in why social ROI is a fool’s game.

After all, you can’t measure the value of a pop song. It makes you happy, sure. And we all know you can work better, run faster and just in general be more successful when you’re happy … but good luck trying to prove any of that.

The Mobile Enterprise Won't Be Built in a Day

2014-20-May-Subway-Rider.jpgOnly last year, the industry was abuzz with news about "Bring Your Own (BYO)" programs ... Since then organizations have discovered three things: 1. Supporting an open list of employee-owned equipment is not practical. 2. Deploying a manageable and scalable mobile security infrastructure is "easier said than done." Plus, it’s taking longer than anticipated to get all the pieces in place. 3. So far, the only business applications workers have been able to use are email, contact management and calendar.

These complications have limited the payback that organizations have been able to reap from their BYO programs. Organizations are dealing with the first two items by limiting their approved list of supported devices, and by (finally) deploying mobile device management (MDM) or similar security solutions.

However, the lack of real business apps remains a problem.

A Shift in Business Means a Shift in Notions of ROI

Social Business: 2014-20-May-Measurements.jpgThe Big Shift is indeed a big shift. Driven by complexity, competitive pressure and the end of the office building as the primary location of people and activity. The shift is primarily about three things: 1. Leadership 2. The new learning-collaborative paradigm of work and 3. Relationship with external parties -- the ecosystem.

There’s a problem here, and it's not (only) one of culture or technology -- it's one of profound impedance mismatch between old and new paradigms of business. That is to say it's like taking a Firewire connector and trying to plug it into a video cable. It doesn’t work, and finding an adaptor is pretty hard.

Cisco Simplifies Its Collaboration Suite

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If you've worked in an office in the past 15 years, odds are you've used Cisco's desk phones, attended WebEx conference calls or watched colleagues over Cisco's TelePresence video service. Maybe you've also used Lync, Skype, Hangouts or some of the many others services to collaborate with others.

Now, Cisco claims you can choose all of the above thanks to a significant shift in the San Jose, Calif.-company's collaboration suite strategy. At its Cisco Live conference, the company introduced options to simplify its systems while cutting costs.

"We want to bring amazing collaboration capabilities to every room, every desk and every pocket," said Peter Ulander, vice president for marketing. He said the company did a good job of helping people connect through voice, video or data conferences, but all through three services that operated as separate businesses within Cisco.

The ROI for Collaboration is Fool's Gold

Social Business: The ROI for Collaboration is Fool's GoldROI implies that you put money in at X time and get more money out at Y time. But that is not how it works with collaboration because of three difficult problems. It is trying to solve these problems that has lead me to believe that the ROI for collaboration is fool’s gold.

So You Want to Host a Video Conference for 100?

Video conferencing has picked up steam as a key business tool, with users choosing between Microsoft's Skype and Lync, Google's Chromebox, Cisco's WebEx and others. Mountain View, Calif.-based Blue Jeans Network is now upping the ante, going from 25 simultaneous users for its cloud-based, multi-platform service to 100.

Got Social? Great: Now Manage the Risks

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Power brings responsibility, and social media power means that companies have a responsibility to manage the accompanying risks and obligations. A new Forrester Wave report profiles the leading vendors for those tasks.

The Forrester Wave: Social Risk and Compliance Solutions, Q2 2014 report [fee charged] points to the growing number of ways that social media presents issues for organizations.

There's reputational and information security risks for every company, and companies in regulated fields, like financial services or healthcare, have regulatory and compliance matters that require not only monitoring and management but also archiving.

Practical Steps to Measuring Social ROI

Social collaboration and the use of enterprise social networks (ESN) have taken the business community by storm. In June of 2013, David Sacks, corporate vice president at Microsoft announced that Yammer had achieved over 8 million users worldwide. Pretty staggering numbers for just one of the many ESN providers in a crowded marketplace. With the IDC estimating the enterprise social market to reach $4.5 billion by 2016, many companies are adopting ESNs as integrated business tools.

The ROI Conundrum: Making the 'Impossible' Possible

For all the hype and enthusiasm about social collaboration and the rhetoric about the potential it has to bring about huge changes in the way an organization operates, it remains extraordinarily hard to find good examples of where a business can justify its investment in clear financial terms.

That’s not to say that there are no identifiable benefits in today's social collaboration success stories. But these are often anecdotal, tied to specific use cases and more indicative of the broader opportunity for the business, rather than necessarily demonstrating a return in financial terms. For early adopter organizations that already bought into the concept and are seeing evidence emerging in their own business context, this may not be a problem. But for the majority that are not trailblazers in this space -- those just starting to look at whether social collaboration is a worthwhile investment opportunity -- it's not surprising that they want real, tangible, evidential proof of its value.

The Unintentional Culture of Blame

The Unintentional Culture of BlameThe irony is so rich and textured that it would be a delight to behold if it were not for the pain we all must endure. For the last few years, the calls for "a culture of accountability" have been all the rage ... and now the law of unintended consequences has come calling and is asking for its due.

How the Client Experience Defines the New ROI of Social Business

I remember when things were just getting started with Enterprise 2.0, then Social Business, how we were all trying to prove the business value of social technologies and even our very existence as 2.0 practitioners in the workplace. Do you remember how tough it was to justify yours to senior management? How things have changed since then ....

Fast forward to 2014, and while the conversation around measuring the business value of Social Business persists and is perhaps more relevant, the focus and intent of the questions have shifted. There is no longer a need to justify it, but rather an opportunity to evaluate the maturity of different initiatives as you progress on the Social Business journey. No one can deny the impact of social technologies at the workplace anymore -- and that’s a good thing. We have finally moved on.

Hunting Unicorns: 5 Approaches to Measure Social Business ROI

2014-12-May-SocialROI-Unicorn.jpgWe face two major measurement problems when trying to measure the impacts of social business software: demanding stakeholders and intangible outputs. To grant project sponsorship, the C-Suite wants to see how you will measure return on investment (ROI). Meanwhile, from a human perspective we can inherently understand the value of engagement, dialog and innovation in the workplace, but it's very difficult to measure these intangibles in dollars and cents.

How do we begin to quantify the impacts of social business software on organizations or are we simply trying to chase a proverbial unicorn?

Distributed Collaboration is Rapidly Evolving

One of the biggest disruptors of the last few years has been the distributed nature of work. People can now work pretty much anywhere, anytime, with anyone, on any content. And though content still plays a critical part, I am starting to see context as more critical for any type of collaboration. Without a common context it is hard for two or more people to work together.

Tools like email can work for one to many interactions (if you cc the whole organization), but not many to many. Web conferencing also falls under the one to many umbrella. And though a common context is required in those instances, they do not require the deeper knowledge of context that many to many interactions do, as we see in distributed teams.

Social ROI = Return on Insanity

Social ROI = Return on InsanityThere’s no way to put this delicately, so I’ll be blunt: quantifying the financial benefits of an enterprise social network is turning your company -- and the entire social technology industry -- into a three ring circus.  

The ongoing demands of individual executives, archaic software evaluation processes and an obsessive focus on employees as productivity centers instead of human beings have turned collaboration into chaos, and social analytics into a spectator sport. As vendors, consultants and analysts vie for customers and relevancy in the enterprise social networking space, we’ve become elephants that do tricks for peanuts, or tigers that jump through flaming hoops when the ringmaster says it shall be so.

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