Use Real Metrics To Assess Value Of Collaboration

by Erica Driver

When trying to establish metrics for the success of your collaboration strategy or software implementation, use measures of real business value, not false indicators.

False Indicators

  • Number of items in a discussion thread
  • Number of community members
  • Megabytes of unstructured content in a site
  • How many times you get in front of decision makers to present -- and the responses you receive
  • Number of ideas entered into an idea tracking system
  • Repeat users on a site (e.g., team workspace, wiki, blog, community)
  • Number of site visits

Problems With False Indicators

  • Can be manipulated for positive results
  • Not valued by business stakeholders
  • Ideas don't automatically translate into business value
  • Use of a software tool does not mean it is producing results -- it could be nothing more than a productivity sinkhole
  • Time a user spends on a site may indicate an affinity but does not mean the content on the site is influencing the reader to create higher value

Measures Of True Business Value

  • Customer retention
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Market share
  • Profitability or cash flow
  • Sales backlog
  • Cycle time reductions
  • Quality index
  • Time spent doing rework
  • Productivity
  • Percentage of revenue from new products
  • Organizational competency / skill levels
  • R&D conversion rate

The best (and perhaps only) way to assess the real metrics is through stories.

  • Put in place a process by which your team can help the business user community assess the "before and after" of using collaboration tools to support specific business processes.
  • Reach out to early adopters through surveys, focus groups, brown bag lunches, contests, intranet posts, and posters in the hallways to solicit examples of how collaboration tools have helped achieve direct, measurable business results. The most common measurable results you're likely to hear about are in the areas of cycle time reductions, time spent doing rework, and productivity.

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