This blog post was originally publishing in 2013 on the Microsoft 365 Blog.
At YamJam’12, our conference in San Francisco last October, there was much discussion around the best way to measure business value of an Enterprise Social Network. While there are many variables to consider, the best approach can be tricky to determine. Each company should look to a combination of financial and non-financial measures that link back to the company’s mission, vision, strategy and business priorities.
In order to begin digging into the value of your network, you must first examine the content and context of conversations and activity happening. For example, a high volume of conversation on a network is great on the surface; however, without knowing the context behind these conversations, it is difficult to quantify their value. Even knowing the context of conversations, you must still understand the business outcomes these conversations bring to the organization. Business value comes from capturing and understanding these outcomes.
When to start measuring
It is never too early to begin measuring small wins early on in your network. To get a good reading, it is important to have a large enough group of active and engaged users. While you do not need everyone from the organization to participate, you do need enough people on the network to contribute enough content and form enough connections, before you can begin to realize value. For some organizations, starting with a smaller group that has a clearly defined business goal/purpose can also be an effective approach.
Building a network that can deliver measurable business value is a process of continuous iteration that begins with a defined business purpose or use case: “are we trying to increase collaboration, employee engagement, etc?” Beginning with a specific focus and goal allows for opportunities to celebrate success to inspire others. As the network matures, where you focus your effort will change.