This was the message that Yammer’s CTO and Co-Founder Adam Pisoni delivered at the Info360 Conference in NYC this morning. While I’m not sure that the title of the presentation translated into the actual content, the presentation itself was great; filled with useful stats, telling visuals, and relevant analogies. It’s actually a good thing that Adam wasn’t drilling across the “Adoption is the new ROI” message during all of his slides because that’s a tough pill to swallow. The assumption is that by employees adopting and actively using collaborative tools that business value will present itself. Now while this certainly might be true, “adoption” is (at least in my experience) never a driving force for companies to invest in these emergent tools or strategies.
The reality is that adoption is neither a use case nor is it a business problem. Leaders at organizations don’t make the decision to deploy these tools just so that they can get a lot of people using them. No, leaders see real business problems within their enterprise such as:
- multiple devices being used within enterprises that need to talk to each other
- difficulty in organizational alignment and insight into the ground floor of the company
- duplication of content and inefficient ways of working
- work-life balance issues
- poor employee engagement
- stagnant innovation
- and many others
Adoption doesn’t necessarily mean that any of these problems are solved or that any objectives are met. Adoption is a constant challenge for many organizations today. I speak with many companies who are typically saying something along the lines of, “we deployed something and nobody is using it, what do we do?” But getting that adoption needs to have some reasoning behind it, let’s say you had 100% active adoption of employees using whatever it is you deployed 10x a day, then what? What is the point of the activity and of that usage?
It’s interesting because many organizations have no KPIs for their collaboration efforts and those that do set up KPIs rarely check in on them. So it seems as though adoption and activity metrics have become the default metric(s) of choice to manage success. As I’ve stated in the past this is focusing too much on the affect rather than the cause. Perhaps this is because many companies don’t understand why they are deploying these tools to begin with. This works for some companies but not for others.
What do you think? Is adoption the new ROI as Adam suggests or should be looking beyond that? What does your organization look at?
(Cross-posted @ Social Business Advisor: Social CRM and Enterprise 2.0)