How do I measure the value of my Enterprise Social Network?

Recently I was invited by Justin Hunt at the Digital and Social Media Leadership Forum to speak on the panel, to discuss and answer questions from the audience on how they can successfully measure their Enterprise Social Network (ESN). The purpose of this blog is to summarise my key takeaways from the discussion, provide further details on Content and Code’s ESN Maturity Model and to continue the conversation with you here.

Measuring an Enterprise Social Network can be done through either a qualitative, quantitative or a blended approach. Before we go into the details of how to measure ESNs it might be worth considering the drivers and the need to quantify its usefulness.

Increasingly, internal communications and those responsible for their enterprise social network are being asked by executive sponsors and budget holders to demonstrate the ROI for their new tool. From experience of increasing adoption, we understand that the more engagement you have on a network from your colleagues, the more you will realise the exponential value (this is based on Metcalf’s law). If you are able to benchmark your current usage you will be much better placed to see where you are having success and where your short-comings are. This can be useful to celebrate the small wins or to request additional resources or internal/external support. And of course it might just be for pure vanity reasons.

Enterprise social network

So great, now what…?

Once you’ve carried out your quantitative analysis, it wouldn’t be unsurprising to see some quite shocking ROI figures – probably around 15% – 20% with little investment in adoption. It’s important to remember that Metcalf’s law will bring exponential value in collaborative technologies and therefore the return on engagement (ROE) isn’t directly correlated to ROI. However, proving this will be somewhat challenging. On the other hand, when considering the qualitative measures you’re likely to find that you’re able to meet the strategic objectives or at the very least the agreed outcomes. Whilst taking a blended approach might seem like an obvious choice, I’d suggest taking the results with a pinch of salt, as data can be misrepresented by sarcasm and double negatives.

At Content and Code, we believe that it’s important to combine the organisation’s strategic goals, the users experience and the technology itself, as when these forces are in balance then an organisation will realise its goals through increased adoption and engagement. As someone with a passion for enterprise social, I’m as keen to find the answer as much as you are. So we’ve taken this a step further to develop a maturity model for Enterprise Social (including Office 365). We’ve partnered with Warwick Business School to develop the most robust enterprise social maturity model to date which is based on academic and real-life research. It has taken over 2.5 years of combined man-hours to develop.

The model focusses on the productivity factors that Enterprise Social enables (to be expanded upon in future posts):

  • Business Agility
  • Collaboration
  • Employee Engagement
  • Innovation
  • Security, Risk and Governance

Combining this model with our user experience team, we’ve created a 10 minute organisational assessment that focuses on the attitudes and behaviours or your employees, as well as their perception of company culture and the organisational structures and process. These dimensions contribute to the successful adoption, consumption and engagement of enterprise social technologies.

Enterprise social network

By analysing this data we’re able to determine clear areas around your Enterprise Social Network to focus on, helping you demonstrate those quick wins and provide a benchmark for a continual review of your current progress.

Enterprise social network

The maturity model is currently in beta and we’re now in the testing phase with clients who are looking to not only measure their level of maturity, but also increase adoption, engagement and value of their enterprise social platforms.

I’d be keen to hear your thoughts on the model, or other ways in which people measure analytics. If you are interested in benchmarking your maturity, get in touch.

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Steve Crompton

Steve Crompton

Enterprise Social & Office 365 Consultant

Steve specialises in strategic digital business transformations at Content and Code.
He previously worked at Yammer (acquired by Microsoft) where he led strategic enterprise-wide change programmes through improving business effectiveness, by employee engagement, innovation and collaboration initiatives. Steve is passionate about how organisations work and how they will continue to work in the future, he is a regular speaker at academic institutions and international industry events on these topics.

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