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Quantifying success for team collaboration applications

Organizations that deploy team collaboration applications are looking to achieve the greatest ROI possible. The struggle is in determining what metrics to quantify the success and ROI of these applications.

Most often factors, such as time and money, are used to measure success. In most cases, money is simple to quantify, organizations can compare pre- and post-deployment revenue or calculate the amount of money saved by deploying team collaboration applications. But, time can be a bit more complicated to quantify.

If a company says team collaboration tools saved 10 minutes of a meeting, that doesn’t necessarily mean the company can explain how that time may have been otherwise spent, said Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.

While it may not be possible to calculate the productivity and value of time saved in meetings and conference calls, organizations can determine how productive the used time is by tracking efficiency gains, such as faster approvals, onboarding, change requests, as well as meeting reductions. The catch, according to Lazar, is that efficiency gains can only be measured in repeatable processes.

A Nemertes Research study on measuring the success of team collaboration identified increased revenue, decreased spending and more efficient business processes as the three metrics for measuring collaboration application ROI. The study also found that organizations with successful ROI for team collaboration deployments used one or more of three approaches.

Business approach

Some organizations will focus on how collaborations work broadly within the business. These organizations tend to have a centrally funded workplace collaboration budget rather having each area of a business handle its own collaboration budget. A centrally funded budget will simplify the process of measuring monetary gains and savings by limiting the number of budgets that need tracking.

Organizations that take this approach are more likely to increase the number of remote workers, and rely less on open work environments to cut down on distractions and increase productivity, as well as cutting brick and mortar costs, according to the study.

Rather than going through a single vendor for all communication and collaboration needs, the study showed that organizations that take a broader business approach to team collaboration deployments are more likely to choose vendors based on feature preferences.

Collaboration technologies approach

Organizations that take a technology-focused approach are looking to enhance the team collaboration environment using all of the tools available. A hybrid approach coupled with SD-WAN and SIP trunks is likely to be used in a technology-focused approach, with organizations making strategic decisions about which parts of the business to move to the cloud, Lazar said. In addition, IT using this approach will be more proactive about the security of their collaboration environment.

The collaboration technology approach uses vendor-provided management tools as well as third-party platforms. This approach works best when adopted across an entire enterprise since it ensures that all teams have access to compatible tools, and will likely have the greatest productivity ROI, according to the study. IT should have an open dialogue with end users to determine what tools are most valuable for an organization’s collaboration teams.

Digital transformation approach

The study found that organizations with successful collaboration deployments are more likely to adopt personal voice assistants and new technology, such as AI. These organizations focused on digital transformation as a whole, looking for new integrations to make business processes more efficient and save time, Lazar said. Overall, companies using this approach were seen as much more proactive about adopting emerging technologies as a means to enhance collaboration workflows.

All of these approaches contribute to the success of a team collaboration application deployment. Organizations can track efficiency before and after deployment as a method of calculating ROI. Organizations should also track ROI by measuring the costs saved due to collaboration deployments, as well as the revenue generated for the company by those deployments.