Online communities are an appealing but challenging topic for enterprises. Most organizations feel they will increasingly use social networking tools, but are uncertain how best to proceed.
Proving business benefit and responding to deployment challenges can be a difficult, but these activities must be grounded on objective data, so obtaining key metrics is essential. However, often community and social networking applications intended for enterprise deployment lack the necessary query and reporting tools to support business champions and system administrators.
Recently we launched a Success Metrics community on Open Text Online Communities for those who have deployed Open Text Communities of Practice (CoP). Members of that community have access to reporting tools and templates specifically designed to provide community metrics.
My colleague Agnes Kolkiewicz just made the following blog post in that community (see Metrics Blog):
Many of you have mentioned that you are struggling with user adoption within your communities. As I believe that the success of any software project (and particularly where document management and collaboration are concerned) is largely dependent on user adoption, I believe it would be within the scope of this community to include some best practices on user adoption. To support this, I will start a "user adoption best practices" wiki in the community with the hope that all of you can add to it as we progress.
Metrics and user adoption, especially in the case of collaborative or social media software go hand-in-hand. The more that substantive content is added and the higher the participation and log-in rates, the more value your system will bring to the organization, but you need to be able to measure that progress and growth in participation:
I would encourage everyone to use metrics throughout your project lifecycles – please keep in mind that metrics not only help you prove an ROI, but also help guide your project as it progresses by enabling you to measure progress and identify areas that work well and those that need improvement. In the case of document management or collaborative software, user adoption goes a long way in helping ensure the "success" of your project.