Enterprise 2.0 ROI Metrics: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Source: http://blogs.zdnet.com/collaboration/?p=710 by Oliver Marks

The ROI of Online Customer Service communities‘ by Forrester customer experience and relationship management analyst Natalie Petouhoff is a $US 1,999 ‘Total Economic Impact™ Analysis’ (TEI) report.

Mike Krigsman over at his ‘IT failures’ blog here on ZD Net seems impressed by the report’s findings, so I took a quick look at what is publicly available at Forrester.com, and Natalie was then kind enough to give me access to her teams’ findings and recommendations.

Mike suggests the measurements and metrics Forrester applied with their TEI analysis framework specifically to Determine the ROI Of Online Customer Service Communities is the answer to a wider goal of measuring ‘Enterprise 2.0′ and a panacea to the ’substance-free clamoring’ enthusiasm of kumbaya style Enterprise 2.0 evangelists.

Forrester reports are typically relatively expensive slices of a broader business pizza and this particular example is no exception. If you’re a customer services professional looking at collaborative tools to deliver better customer experiences at lower cost, this report looks to be valuable to you in helping provide focus.

The ROI of boning up on customer service communities with Forrester’s help will help you ramp up your  version more quickly.

Natalie summarizes her report here by stating ‘The early evidence indicates that social technologies are a sound choice because they provide an attractive ROI in a short period of time while delivering better customer experiences.

It’s important to understand that like Web 2.0, ‘Enterprise 2.0′ is the whole pizza meal – ‘the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers’ to quote Andrew McAfee.

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While customer service communities are an important business process subset – interaction with customers – it is just one facet of the individual complex business infrastructure every company has, each of which are as unique as a snowflake.

Many people this year seem to looking for Enterprise 2.0 frameworks and ways to measure results, but the reality is that like shopping for clothes, one size doesn’t fit all.

In my experience Enterprise 2.0 is not primarily about IT success or failure – although it is often the solution for line of business users struggling with inflexible enterprise software in the form of substituting light weight browser based tools in order to get their work done.

I’ve written previously about collaboration ROI here, and Dion Hinchcliffe did a good job back in April with his piece “Determining the ROI of Enterprise 2.0“.

Don’t design your fitted suit based on one slice of pizza

Designing business workflows around a company’s people and processes – often internationally- to fit the unique culture and ‘body types’ enterprise evolution has shaped over time is akin to creating garments that fit that body well.

A bespoke, nicely cut suit should be a great user experience – a one size fits all T shirt with Enterprise 2.0 printed front and back will be quite clearly what the graphic design says and relatively easy to sell, but will it be fit for purpose?

The reality is that there are a few people with a standard model’s body type that look good in off-the-shelf suits, but most of us need some custom tailoring – some user specific measurement and design that brings out the best in us for important occasions.

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If we think of Enterprise 2.0 as a broad wardrobe of garments suitable for all sorts of functionality, we can see how easy it would be to grab the athletic gear for the business meeting, or the business suit for the plumbing work. Whether online customer service communities or internal engineering communities, company wide innovation capture or secret R&D wiki and blog spaces, it’s incredibly important to provide the right user experience that fits well.

Once you’ve got the right outfit for the job the next task is to make sure it fits really well and helps rather than hinders your success. We all know the difference between feeling good and comfortable in our clothes and not so much – workflow software and collaborative spaces are no different.

Designing valid metrics to measure specific goals are an important part of business process design: attempting to find a one-size-fits-all outfit and associated measurable use model may work with specific narrowly focused tasks, but in most cases it pays to work with professionals to identify the best solutions and measurements for your specific needs.

Image: Gene Kelly in MGM’s Living in a Big Way (1947)

Oliver MarksOliver Marks provides seasoned independent consulting guidance to companies on the effective planning of ‘Enterprise 2.0’ strategy, tactics, technology decisions and roll out. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations

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