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How do you measure collaboration ROI?

Measuring collaboration return on investment in a unified communications setting involves benchmarking employee application usage before and after deployment.

Measuring collaboration ROI depends on whether the deployment is part of a full unified communications platform...

or just a specific application for team collaboration. The latter applies when the business hasn't fully deployed UC, but has decided to try a point product, such as video conferencing, to help workers collaborate more effectively. However, measuring collaboration ROI can be difficult, since point products are not used for every instance of collaboration, and one-to-one communication is often used instead of team collaboration.

The more practical situation to measure collaboration ROI is with UC, since a platform will encompass various applications, including telephony, video and messaging. This makes for a larger investment, but more utility spanning a greater range of collaboration scenarios.

Given the higher stakes here, businesses have more of a reason to use ROI as a success metric, but it must be applied with caution. ROI works well for hardware with a long lifecycle, but UC is neither of these.

If collaboration ROI must be determined, the starting point is to establish adoption of the applications. The biggest challenge for UC is getting employees to use it, since the platform usually provides applications that employees are already using.

Ideally, before deploying UC, you should get benchmark measurements for how employees use collaboration applications. The idea is to determine the mix of applications used for team collaboration and to measure various aspects of the collaboration process, such as the number of meetings, length of meetings, how many people are involved and what tasks comprise workflows.

Once UC is in place, track the same metrics; hopefully, performance will be better. That's the promise of UC -- to make the collaboration process easier, even though workers are often using the same applications as before. The main difference is they're using the applications more effectively, and that should translate into better metrics to support the collaboration ROI business case for UC.

Do you have a question for Jon Arnold or any other experts? Ask your enterprise-specific questions today! (All questions are treated anonymously.)

This was last published in November 2017

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