Good business to be a social business

– What about the ROI? Is there a return of investment, Arne?

How many times have I not heard this questions from CEO’s and CFO’s in many of my customer meetings. And with a glimpse of humor in my eye I always respond with this answer:

– Do you have a mobile phone?

– Yes, of course, they answer with a face like a question mark.

– Could you show me the ROI for your phone? I ask them with a smile.

– No. Of course not. I don’t have an ROI for a phone. It is a must have thing!

And with a big smile on my face I say:

– Exactly. It’s a must have!

They get the idea. Social Business tools is just another must have for the daily work. Like company cars, like telefaxes, like email, like phones, like offices, like employees. It’s just another must have.

Of course there is an ROI (Return On Investment) calculation to be done when deciding for an investment in social business and collaboration tools: There is a lot of time to be saved. There is a lot of travel cost to be saved. There is a lot of phone cost to be saved. And then there are increased productivity to be accounted. And the value of shared skills and shared knowledge to be evaluated.

There are good methods, developed by very skilled consultancy companies, to do professional business value assessments that will show you the real value of todays situation (working the old way) and tomorrows situation (working the new and modern way).

IBM, as the world wide leading provider of social business solutions for three consecutive years (according to IDC), has a lot of examples of the hard cash business value their customers have had as a result of implementing new social collaboration tools and – as a consequence – a new business culture that engages their employees and leverage the collective intelligence. Or “clustering brains” as I call it.

If you read the article “Real Examples of Social Business ROI” from Forbes magazine, you will get a better grip on Social Business and ROI.