Project Management Blog

Learn how to manage projects efficiently. Tips and strategy from experts. Stories, & new approaches to project management, videos & training.

Oct 3, 2011 by Vadim Katcherovski in PM Best Practices & News

How to measure ROI for collaboration?

This post is a part of our new series: Improving Bottom Line and Cutting Costs.

If your organization has not had a meeting with an agenda containing both “Recession” and “Improving bottom line” buzz words lately, please let me know, I want your stock.

However, for those companies who don’t have a fruit in their logo, the reality is that they need to keep their costs low and profits high to stay afloat during current turbulent times.

So, what do you do first? The answer is simple: it doesn’t matter, as long as you analyze and track your results. Only then you’ll know what works for you better and which action brings the highest yields.
Working towards common goal
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” – you probably have heard this phrase many times. However certain things prove to be harder to measure than the others. Take collaboration as an example. It’s a no-brainer that improving collaboration in your organization will improve the bottom line, but how can you quantify the results?

Let’s start with the tangible metrics first, since they’re easier to track, but first, we should define collaboration. According to Wikipedia:

“Collaboration is a process among individuals working together in a coordinated fashion, towards a common goal. Accomplishing the goal is the primary purpose for bringing the team together. Collaborative software helps facilitate action-oriented teams working together over geographic distances by providing tools that aid communication, collaboration and the process of problem solving. Additionally, collaborative software may support project management functions, such as task assignments, time-managing deadlines, and shared calendars.”

Telecommute
Collaboration software allows team members to interact with each other in real time, including chats, screen sharing, document editing, virtual meetings and more without being in the same room, hence one of the most valuable benefits of deploying collaboration tools within your organization is an ability to support full-time or part time telecommute for your staff.
For example, in the current economic situation, if by using collaboration tools you can send some of your employees to work from home, would you be able to save on your rent and operational expenses? That’s something you can easily measure.

Travel Costs
Another benefit that is simple to calculate – saving money on travel costs. Online conferencing can reduce the amount of business travel if your employees can work out contract details or do a presentation for a customer from their computer using a web-conferencing or real-time document sharing capabilities of collaboration software.

Response to Customer Requests
The average response time to your customer requests – is yet another metric you should see declining thanks to the fact that all project-related information is stored in one place and is easily accessible by all team members.

Customer Satisfaction
When the response time goes down, customer satisfaction goes up, and you can measure it using a metric called NPS – Net Promoter Score (NPS). Here is a great article describing NPS.

Employee Satisfaction
Now, you’ve measured your customers’ satisfaction, but you should not forget about your team. Employee satisfaction also looks like an intangible metric; however you can still measure some results by running regular anonymous surveys among your staff similar to NPS, asking how likely your employees are to recommend your company to their friends. Run the survey before implementing the collaboration software and 2-3 months afterwards.
If the collaboration tools will spare your people from working overtime, give them flexibility in terms of working hours and telecommute – you should notice a significant difference in the survey results.

Employee Retention
Employee retention is another metric you could use to measure collaboration software ROI. It’s directly linked to employee satisfaction and the savings of not having to re-train new hires can be quite substantial.

So, as you can see there are many ways to improve the bottom line and cut costs in your organization by having the right collaboration tools in place. Just don’t forget to measure ROI using some of the metrics mentioned above, so you know exactly how much money you saved for your company. You never know when you might need this data.

If you have some other metrics and methodologies for measuring ROI of the collaboration software or have any suggestions, please share them using the comments section below.

vadim-katcherovski
Vadim Katcherovski

Vadim Katcherovski is the CEO of Logic Software Inc. based in Toronto, Canada. He has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry and has managed dozens of software development projects.

Comments