While collaboration can be viewed as a broad topic, encompassing everything from email to instant messaging to real-time video communication, within the SharePoint community we have some very definite ideas of what collaboration means. Even so, employees are increasingly using a variety of technologies to meet their unique business needs. Different tools may better meet the unique goals of each team or business unit. Having said that, there are underlying goals for collaboration that remain true for every business: to improve the sharing information, to get employees engaged and communicating, and to better support your corporate culture. What also remains true for most organizations is that they do not accurately monitor and measure collaboration. As a result, businesses are unable to validate that their collaboration activities have been successful.
Learning from Measurement
When we launched the ‘Measuring Collaboration Success’ initiative earlier this year, we asked the community to share their thoughts on what defines “collaboration success” by participating in a survey and sharing those results. The purpose of this initiative, as the name implies, is to capture feedback from the community and develop best practices around a shared definition of what makes collaboration successful, to understand the metrics being used to monitor and measure that success, and to identify the best practices for implementation to achieve these goals. While many organizations claim that their internal collaboration efforts have been successful and have provided value, the results of this survey showed that few are able to truly articulate that value.
In our second survey, we built on that initial data and asked respondents to share details on how their organizations monitor and measure collaboration success — and to share the quantitative and qualitative metrics that they feel are not being accurately tracked and measured. The results of this survey are now available for download.
Quantitative and Qualitative Measurements
Most platforms and tools provide some level of activity-based metrics, but what most organizations actually want and need are value-based metrics. These take more time and effort to create and monitor, and may be unique to your business. The questions in our surveys progress from definitions to the specific metrics that we use to monitor and measure success. Respondents were asked to identify the out-of-the-box activity-based, or quantitative metrics — such as number of files uploaded, or number of page views — as well as the more results-oriented, or qualitative metrics that help organizations better understand the value being achieved.
For example, the high-level question below asked respondents to identify the types of value, or qualitative, metrics currently being tracked by their organizations. In a follow up question, respondents were also asked whether these efforts were the right priorities for their business, in their view. In many cases, this can identify a disconnect between what is being measured today versus what the business should be measuring. In addition to the defined questions, respondents were given the opportunity to provide open answers — which often provides a much more accurate picture of the success (or failure) of any single metric.
Different organizations may have varying measurements of success, and the intent of the initiative (which you can follow on Twitter using the #MeasureCollabSuccess hashtag) is to share and learn from the best practices of others within the community.
Focusing on Implementation
In the final phase of this year-long initiative, we will focus on what organizations can do to ensure a successful implementation of their collaboration efforts. As with the earlier surveys, this final survey (available here) is completely anonymous, and no participant data is tracked or used for sales and marketing purposes. Respondents have the option to receive the raw survey data at the conclusion of the initiative, or may simply complete the survey so that their feedback is included.
“With a vast number of respondents indicating that collaboration is vital to success, I think it would be in each SharePoint businesses’ best interest to start with a collaboration roadmap when they are first implementing SharePoint. By setting up a method to track collaboration from the beginning, I wouldn’t be surprised if a shift in the user adoption comes after the first couple analyses of those metrics.”
Eric Overfield, MVP and CEO of PixelMill
The results of the first survey, which focused on defining collaboration success, can be downloaded here.
The results of the second survey, which focused on monitoring and metrics surrounding successful collaboration, can be downloaded here.
And if you would like to participate in our latest survey and share your experiences in implementing your own collaboration tools and systems, you can find the survey at http://bit.ly/2hNJ80h
Thank you for your support of this community initiative. We look forward to your feedback!