For the Social Business Convention I did a presentation on the value of Enterprise Social Media. It shows a very clear way of calculating the benefits of enterprise social media. There are two different types of benefits mentioned in this slidedeck:
- Benefits that create a cognitive surplus
- Benefits that create a direct benefit (often cost saving or increase in revenue)
Direct benefits are often very contextual, and since examples of these cases would only make sense in a certain context I only listed generic direct benefits, especially since the presentation was for a mixed audience and each of the audience members have their own context. However two generic direct benefits are: reducing telephone costs and reducing travel costs. For me these are rather obvious savings which provide people with the insight that there are other and better ways to get in touch with each other and to exchange information.
Saving time (for example by making employees more productive), doesn’t directly create a cost saving. However these additional hours can be seen as a cognitive surplus: time that can be spend in a very useful way for a company. Or in some cases: playing some additional solitaire or Angry Birds. The cognitive surplus and especially the increase of this surplus is often one of the basis benefits of enterprise social media. These benefits are applicable to nearly all companies and are often implemented rather easy (as in: the return on investment is rather high and the turnaround time is at worst a bit more than three months).
ROI and Business Cases
Business cases are guesses, since nobody knows exactly upfront what the benefits will be and how much money you will save or if you will be able to create or increase a cognitive surplus in our organization. So the best way to move forward is to do things, to make change happen. Only when things are done you know what the actual result was and you have a clear view on the benefits. Though one thing is certain: benefits are there and social enters the workplace no matter what company or market you are working in.