This week we have been asked to identify and discuss a social media return on investment case, examine how ROI was calculated including tangible and intangible benefits, and to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the approach.
As I will be recommending the use of Microsoft SharePoint for my INB346 Assignment Two, I thought this would be a good chance to find out more about it.
What is SharePoint?
As identified in the above video, Microsoft SharePoint is a platform that allows you to create sites which helps your organisation to create communities, which gives your organisations staff a place to put their stuff (documents, resources, etc). Once the content is there Microsoft SharePoint allows your staff to: search for content, analyse the data born from the content, and
finally, to create composites of the content you have previously created.
Measuring SharePoint ROI
One of the beauties of Microsoft SharePoint is that it comes pre-equipped with tools for analysing its usage and the data contained within it. As these tools are adaptable, they allow an organisation to develop its own metrics specific to what the organisation considers to be the return on its use of SharePoint.
Pique Solutions: The ROI Benefits of Business-Critical SharePoint
I have chosen to analyse the report generated by Pique solutions in which they attempted to measure Microsoft SharePoint’s return on investment.
One of the assertions in the Executive Summary was that the use of Business-Critical SharePoint solutions drove transformational savings as high as eighty to ninety percent. Furthermore, they broke up the summarised ROI measures into: Business, Process, and IT. Only the Business statistics came with a measured financial ROI being averaged at between $200,000 to $300,000 annually. Process measures were: shorter cycle time (50-80%), and fewer errors (up to 90%). IT Measures were: faster deployment (60%), and fewer IT support hours (95%). Though they could have attached a dollar value to many of these percentage improvement statistics, by choosing not to do so, they have allowed the reader to apply the percentage values to their own organisation and thereby given them the ability to calculate the saving they themselves would be able to make.
One of the most powerful pieces of evidence offered by this report (pg3) was Street Crane who showed a sixfold increase in output with minimal staffing growth when they wrapped SharePoint around their product life-cycle management process. Though one could argue that this growth may have had more to do with external factors and other internal factors, the fact that the growth was only accompanied by a slight increase in staffing clearly demonstrates that improvements to internal administration, as brought about by their implementation of Business-Critical SharePoint, had put them in a position to handle six times the amount of work without a dramatic increase in administrative staffing. The only weakness in this anecdotal evidence is the lack of an exact statistic for “minimal staffing growth” which leads us to have to assume what “minimal” actually is.
Next the report focuses upon Line of Business solutions and provides case studies of individual businesses, each illustrate the benefits they themselves experienced from implementing Microsoft SharePoint. These provide a mixture of tangible and intangible benefits, though the focus is mainly upon the tangible. The first case study from The University of Nottingham, showed such saving as: savings in development costs, faster deployment, productivity increase in information gathering, and (less tangible) a shift from reacting to being pro-active. Further case studies each show returns on investments that are specific to the goals and objectives of their own implementations of Microsoft SharePoint. This goes to show that the best way to calculate return on investment for the implementation of internal social media platforms to draw statistics directly from the goals and objectives that your organisation originally envisaged from the implementation of internal social media. This is not to say, however, that an organisation shouldn’t keep an eye out for unexpected benefits as, no doubt, these will frequently arise and should be measured when identified.
In analysing social media’s return on investment it has become quite clear to me that the reason for the confusion regarding how to measure success is due to the fact that the implementation of social media delivers different results to different organisations. The Pique Solutions report finds a clear way to gather meaningful data by tailoring the results to individual businesses specific goals during implementation. Over time I believe that the benefits of and ways of measuring said benefits will improve over time as this “business by business” achieved benefits scenario plays itself out again and again.
Your input is valued
As always I welcome any input from my readers.