April 27th, 2012
For those of you not familiar with our company, Chess Media Group is a management consulting and strategic advisory firm that focused on collaboration. We’re a small company of passionate people who love what we do and that’s how it’s always been. The same people who started the company are the same people who do provide the hands-on strategy development and execution that our clients value. This means that we get to work with a select group of fun and interesting clients every year. We are by no means a McKinsey-sized shop or have a complex traditional agency structure, nor do we ever want to be. Our smaller size enables us to be flexible and adaptable to our various types of engagements and our clients’ unique needs – which keeps things fun and interesting! One of the reasons why many of our clients like working with us is our smaller size – we are flexible and adaptable and it’s easy to develop closer relationships with us. The analogy I give people is that we want to be like House (the central character on the TV show of the same name) but for the collaboration space (and much nicer than he!). Like in the show, our firm consists of a small group of people that focus on the fun and challenging aspects of collaboration and how to make it work.
I want to share this recent testimonial that one of our clients sent over because Connie, our co-Founder, and I both found it very meaningful to us after our engagement:
“When 23TouchPoints began looking for expertise to integrate a social technologies strategy into our existing global platform, we interviewed several companies and individuals. Our research was rigorous and the competition was intense. At the end of our interviews. Connie and Jacob, principals of the Chess Media Group, received our unanimous recommendation.
The main reason we selected the Chess Media Group was that they were not “selling” their technology solution. Instead, they proposed educational and consulting sessions to better understand our needs in order to give us objective feedback and direction.
The other reason we selected them was Connie’s and Jacob’s demonstrated ability to pick-up the phone and talk with the principles of many of the social technology companies we investigated. Direct access to these key executives moved our project along and kept us on schedule.
Several months after the completion of our engagement with the Chess Media Group we still benefit from Connie’s and Jacob’s observations and guidance. They have been an invaluable resource for our product designers and developers. In short, they kept us from making costly mistakes, which gives us a huge ROI on our consulting investment in the Chess Media Group.”
~Scott Ahlsmith, President, 23TouchPoints
This is why we do what we do!
April 25th, 2012
I just came back from a Yammer event in San Francisco where several of their customers (7-11, Deloitte, Westfield, and others) shared their experiences and insights from using the product. The question of ROI and measurement came up as it always does. The customer panel said something which I have been saying for quite some time and something that every company I have worked with and spoken to has said. None of the companies are able to predict the ROI of collaboration but every company is happy with the results . ROI for collaboration only makes sense in hindsight not in foresight. Why is this the case?
It’s not a cop out response or an attempt to circumvent the fact that business value and ROI are both very important. But the fact remains the same that you can’t predict and put a dollar amount on human behavior nor can you predict and put a dollar amount on what the value of a conversation or relationship is going to be. If I asked you if you would want to have a conversation with Jack Welch and Gary Hamel you would most likely say yes, but there is no way you would be able to predict the value or ROI of what that would bring. Technology simply acts as a facilitator between people and information to help the organization executive on its goals and business strategy. The value and ROI does not come from the technology itself but in its use.
Typical forms of ROI and business value for organizations has included the following:
- saved costs by no longer funding legacy intranet systems
- improved productivity of employees
- improve communication across boundaries within the organization
- implementation of employee ideas which result in either revenue generating or cost cutting products/strategies
- decreased turnover rate of employees
- enterprise ground level data that provides insight into the organization for executives
- ability to motivate and encourage employees
- open communication between senior level leaders and all employees
- decreased on-boarding time for new employees
- improved product life cycles
- and many others
The key thing to remember for all of this is purpose. Sure, oftentimes organizations see that when they deploy these new collaborative tools and strategies that the benefits extend beyond what they originally thought but from the get-go there needs to be some sort of justification or reason for going down this road. There needs to be some problem which needs to be solved or a potential opportunity which needs to be unearthed. Only then can an organization tie back metrics to the organization’s ability to execute on a strategy or achieve its goals. Keep in mind that in 2006 Frost & Sullivan conducted a report which saw that collaboration had a 36% impact on overall business performance for organizations. The data is there and the case studies are there.
Make no mistake, the benefits, the ROI, and the business value of enterprise collaboration are all very real but impossible to predict and measure until the tools and strategies are deployed.