Previous articlelinks for 2007-03-15
Next articlelinks for 2007-03-18

About social computing’s ROI

There’s a lot of interesting conversations about social computing’s ROI these days. The fact is as social computing has a very strong human component, it’s also very qualitative. So let’s try to to translate something qualitative in someting quantitative…

According to most specialists…it’s impossible. I like Mike Gotta’s suggestion thats to find a new kind of metrics. But there again, the final metric will have to be money. Perharps a solution at James Snell’s ?

The goal you should be looking to achieve is not increased sales revenue or a measurable productivity increase. Instead, what you’re looking to do is capture the conversations that typical occur in the hallways between meetings, the short yet invaluable lists of todo’s that go along with any project, the random thoughts and insights that come to us throughout the day but usually end up getting lost somewhere between checking the morning email and the three hour long sales meeting.

Not either…except if you consider that assuming there’s no solution is a solution by itself.
Although I totally agree with these point of view, I’m convinced we have to find someting. At least because I’m affraid no company is ready to listen to that. Even if they can undersand, they need figures. Because it’s like that.

In fact I’m sure social software has a real ROI. Not one or two big percentages on defined points, but a lot of micro profits. Someting like weak signal’s ROI, a lot of very little things that makes a lot at the end. Or the long tail applied to IT investment…

But one thing is clear : current metrics aren’t appropriate to qualitative things. Running indicators are mistaken for results indicators that implies means are mistaken for goals. Has anybody worked on building 2.0 indicators.

Focusing on financial indicators makes us forget qualitative profit. It’s quite natural to invest on a teambuilding, a coaching…but they are purely qualitative improvement with no ROI by themselves. The effect they have on people may have financial impacts…we know it but no mathematical formula tels us a coaching will increase sales figures by x %. We just assume that there are chances it will help a person improving his job and, as a consequence, sales will raise. But which part of the raise will be due to the coaching ? Nearly impossible to assess.

So could we assume that social computing has what we can call”second hand” profits? Although it as a ROI by itself it contributes above all  to increase others ROIs .

Head of Employee and Client Experience @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of Employee and Client Experience @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

Recent Posts