As a follow up to my recent post about Connections 5.5, I thought this report was a good companion piece, Forrester IBM Connections Total Economic Impact (TEI).
One of the challenges our customers often face for internal projects is justification. A new e-commerce site can be measured and the ROI driven by hard dollar results. Similarly a Partner portal can be tied to specific top line goals. From internal systems, it becomes more difficult. Partially it is because internal metrics often don’t exist or aren’t as granular as external.
I worked with a client recently on an intranet initiative which encountered these challenges. The organization had determined a need to replace two intranet platforms and we were conducting a roadmap and visual design engagement. During one of the phase-gates the steering committee requested success criteria as part of a phased funding approval. The challenges wasn’t identifying the criteria, but rather criteria which a) had a useful baseline and b) a mechanism for updating on a frequency less than a year. The client had the flexibility and processes in place to allow for this new requirement but for others, it would have been a significant challenge.
While an intranet and Social Business tools are different, although there can be significant overlap, they can be challenged by the same measurement gap. If your company is considering initiatives in these areas, think about your employee surveys can be extended to create a baseline for these future initiatives.
The report steps through the methodology used to calculate the economic impact, focusing on the benefits of the following:
• Increase in end user productivity
• Reduction in turnover
• Reduction in IT operating costs
The mix of hard and soft savings is a good approach and the focus on reducing turnover applies to all customers. I will quibble with the report in that the calculations are based on composite of the interviewed companies. The composite is that of a large enterprise (35,000). I realize that IBM and its peer group are in the business of selling enterprise software but sometimes customers read reports such as these and decide Connections isn’t for them. Our experience is that Connections can be a good fit at mid-sized organizations and isn’t only for the large enterprise.
I recommend that you read the report and decide if your company could also benefit from Connections.