Web 2.0 ROI discussion at Web 2.0 Strategies

Was at the Web 2.0 Strategies forum today and took part in a social software ROI discussion. The discussion wandered quite easily onto the ROI of blogging or the ROI of wikis, and the features and functions of the tools. This has never really helped develop the ROI case for Web 2.0 or Enterprise 2.0 and didn’t in this case. It got more interesting when we turned our attention to a problem that Web 2.0 could solve (maybe using blogs or wikis).

For example, if a software company has a problem where support calls cost too much, a wiki may be a good tool to lower the cost of fielding support calls. Jive Software recently quoted an organisation where phone support cost the organisation $12 per incident, whereas wiki support cost $0.25. A wiki therefore supports the ROI case for the reducing the cost of providing support – there’s no ROI for the wiki in it’s own right. It’s just that organisations that adopt Enterprise 2.0 can improve the ROI’s on many different projects.

The conclusion I took away was that ROI only makes sense when applied to a specific business problem – then you piggy-back on the ROI of that business problem, rather than trying to make a generic ROI case for widespread wiki, blog, or social software adoption.

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2 Responses to Web 2.0 ROI discussion at Web 2.0 Strategies

  1. Dan Smith says:

    Jon, your own posts suggest that there can be an important ‘return’ beyond, or more important than “ROI only makes sense when applied to a specific business problem.”

    As you noted in your post about Mike Kavis and SOA, “They now spend more time on cultural change rather than technology. Cultural change has always been the X-factor in any Enterprise 2.0 engagement.”

    The point about piggy backing general goals of cultural change on a social media-aided project with a clear ROI is sounds like good advice.

  2. Jon Mell says:

    Thanks Dan – you are right. I think that the ROI discussion can only be measurable when applied to a specific business problems.

    There are more important returns to be had, but these are difficult to articulate if you are faced with a bottom line focused decision maker.

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