E2.0 ROI Calculation & Predictions: True then, Changing Now...

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On May 22, 2008 Oliver Marks had a great blog entry over at ZDNet on the ROI and economic aspects of Enterprise 2.0 and social applications. Summarizing his point: As the global economy continues to drive up expenses, especially those involved with travel, enterprise 2.0 collaboration becomes increasingly valuable - in real dollars - to the business.

It is important to realize that the collaboration capabilities that can effectively replace travel are not just VOIP and real time chat (though those do play a part). Team based information sharing, calendar sharing, social rating, trust and expertise valuations, and personal profile sharing all play a part.

I have recently begun describing the Enterprise 2.0 era as as big a paradigm shift for business as the telephone was. The telephone introduced distanceless, instant voice communication. Enterprise 2.0 technologies have the potential to bring together not just voice and presence but all forms of communication and information with higher quality than ever before. The E2.0 information flow is characterized by three things:
1)Continuous Creation (e.g. the perpetual beta)
2)Continual Requests (e.g. by people, long tail niches, systems and applications)
3)Ubiquitous Availability (e.g. web delivery, contextually aware)
For a more detailed and interactive treatment on this topic, see my slideshare to the right and down.

The issue facing businesses is finding the ROI behind the buzz. To some E2.0 is a fad (it's not - it is a paradigm shift and the evolution of our communication). To others it is an ancillary value add to a more run-of-the-mill implementation (it may be at first but promises not to stop there).

It's important though to make sure that any ROI potential isn't offset by the cost of wiring together 10 or 20 separate "web 2.0" technologies behind the firewall. Marks agrees:

I would argue that ad hoc adoption of technology without careful planning and integration into existing personnel and partner hierarchies won’t scale longer term. While specific problems may be solved by rapid adoption of appropriate light weight technologies, true collaboration should be the core of the enterprise and not just at the extremities.(emphasis added)

Another way of saying this is that collaboration should be enabled throughout the enterprise and offered up from the center. Collaboration technologies cannot forget that collaboration ALWAYS begs the question of "collaborating on what?" The answer to that question is enterprise content management that is fully fused with the collaboration packages. One cannot either leave the discussion with a technology offering. The best information management and collaboration software in the world is useless without adoption.

Marks agrees on both points:

Many of today’s various experimental grass roots adoptions, combined with some confusion of utility with social network software (Facebook, ‘super poking’ etc) have created an understandable lack of clarity at an executive level. At this stage there are no clear frameworks or patterns: specific business problems require carefully crafted solutions. At the other end of the spectrum Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and IBM will continue to thrive but lack the fleet footed ability of the enterprise collaboration solutions.

Marks wrote this back in May. What he wrote then may have been true but it is has now changed at least for Oracle. Our Enterprise 2.0 platform specifically avoids the hodgepodge integration approach and combines the power, scalability and openness of Universal Content Management, Web Content Management, User Interaction, Experiences, Portal, Presence, and Application Compositing.

The value of the Oracle E20 offering is that the ROI from collaboration is not going to be consumed by a lengthy integration project and ongoing maintenance costs. Additionally, the value adds from each of the E20 constituents (e.g. UCM, WebCenter Interaction, WebLogic Portal, etc) remain intact and add to each other rather than compete with each other since Oracle has created the platform for Enterprise 2.0.
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ROI Chart (ht: Global Content Works on the graphic)

Comments:

You might want to check out the social media ROI done by Axel Schultze and the students at the Social Media Academy: http://www.socialmedia-academy.com/html/research.cfm

Posted by Adrienne Corn on March 10, 2009 at 03:27 PM CDT #

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