ROI for collaboration

image It was late Friday afternoon.  I was looking forward to the weekend.  I hadn’t responded to a voicemail from earlier in the day … then I got on the follow-up call, just a quick question.  Well it turns out the account director for one of our customers could see huge potential for collaboration and will talk to the customer CFO.  Excellent news as always – I love people who bring leads rather than having to create them.  The real work here though is that the CFO requires figures on cost savings and return on investment rather than my preference for talking about value.  Sure we can talk brilliantly about savings associated with removing the need for travel but its much less tangible and quantifiable when we get to collaboration based on knowledge, documents or social networks. 

Inside I was thinking about org culture, likelihood of adoption, propensity to collaborate, specific processes/projects/business challenges, key events and many more.  Assessing all these factors will help understand what the business needs to collaborate on, and with who – following that point we can get to an appropriate collaboration tooling before some proof of concepts and pilots.  Articulating this will be the key for success here…off we go on the adventure.  Incidentally, I really liked Hichcliffe’s post last week about ROI of enterprise 2.0 tools.

Am I the only person who prefers to talk value over cost?

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Image under creative commons via giddygoose on flickr


  1. Talk value, but show quantifiable benefits.
    The value is in faster times to make decisions or deals.
    Quantify it via the customer buying in by asking them how much an average deal is for and how long it takes to get it done.
    Or how many people are involved in one deal, and how many files, folders, etc are used?
    The value to a CFO is different from the CIO or CEO.
    His value is that the company will be better off financially, and provide proof for it.


  2. @Keith Brooks
    Thanks for your comment Keith. This is probably one of the most difficult things we do up-front for customers, quantifying the cost and value of collaboration as a whole – especially as each will change depending upon the culture, adoption and people. These engagements always provoke more thought and reflection from me (hence the blog post) because I have to reflect and collaborate to find more about the organisation in question. Good to see folks taking a similar approach.


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