Building a business case for social collaboration becomes doubly important when you consider that many such initiatives fall short of people’s expectations and are ultimately deemed a failure; the exercise is vital not just to get the necessary buy-in and financial commitment to get started, but also to ensure that you give your initiative the best chances of success.
Clarify your specific business need for social collaboration
Getting buy-in from executives – as well as the rest of the organisation – needs more than a commitment to better collaboration; you need to clearly articulate how social collaboration will bring value to your specific organisation, given its key business goals and strategies. Getting this right from the start will provide a crucial foundation for all your other decisions and activities surrounding your initiative, and creates a framework for measuring your success.
Social collaboration requires a long-term investment commitment to succeed
Although often viewed as a low-cost opportunity, the technology investment is only a small proportion of the overall cost of a successful social collaboration initiative, with the long-term cost of business change often underestimated and presenting a significant risk to the initiative. Your business case needs to set expectations for the long-term investment required to bring about business change, ensuring you have budget for the resources required to manage and sustain the adoption process over several years, supporting the workforce’s gradual shift to new ways of working while at the same time ensuring they get their work done.
Define your metrics and benchmark early to ensure you can measure your success
While the benefits of social collaboration are often softer and more difficult to quantify than some business technologies, it is certainly possible to measure the success of your initiative, and it is vital to reassure executives, managers and employees alike that the initiative continues to deliver value. However, to ensure you have the data points to demonstrate this, it’s vital to think about the way you define success up front, drawing on your central business goals and benchmarking your position well in advance of the launch of the initiative.