Water Cooler ROI - Putting Social Software to Productive Work

March 3, 2009 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

Matt Hodgson's the ROI of Being Social at Work points to recent MIT research suggesting 40% of productivity for creative teams is a direct result of communication and employees with the most extensive digital networks are 7% more productive.

This complements research I discussed in Collaborating Across Boundaries, Searching People for Answers which offers tangible evidence for the productivity gains achieved by reducing search chains (to find experts) and collaboration across workgroups or divisions.

Per Euan’s Semple's point suggesting that if you "Keep the I really small then people won't give so much hassle about the R," the I that you might spend on a social software project is miniscule compared to the benefits that can be unlocked.

Trying to quantify benefits with more traditional approaches like calculating storage saving from e-mail may “pay the bill,” will miss the point.

Managers are on board with this approach. In a study of Competitive Intelligence operations, most managers say they measured return based on customer satisfaction (where the customers are internal users of the intelligence information).

Faster innovation, better decisions, shorter search chains and greater productivity result when you move communication and collaboration from e-mail to a social software based "water cooler."

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