Chapter 22

Ten Ways to Make Social Collaboration Pay Off

Every technology initiative is judged by its payoff. The gold standard is return on investment (ROI), which is solid proof of a financial return exceeding the money invested. Showing ROI for social collaboration can be challenging. For one thing, when social collaboration is one element of an organizational change process, should the technology be the factor that gets the credit for any positive financial results instead of the leadership or the people who executed the strategy?

I say give the people the credit but give the technology its due for helping produce a positive result. Have a story to tell about how social collaboration contributed, not only to ROI but by making your workplace a better place in which to work.

Starting with a Purpose

Social collaboration software has sometimes been a victim of its own marketing: the dynamic, intuitive technology that “will break down all internal divisions within a company and make everyone work together better.” In those ill-fated cases, the contract is signed, the software is deployed, and nothing very dramatic happens. These examples may be classified as failures although whether they truly failed is hard to tell, given that they never had very specific goals in the first place.

The difference between those examples and the most impressive success stories tends to be focus — or the lack thereof. While writing this book, I had a chance to ask about what made the biggest difference ...

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