What does successful collaboration look like?

If you've spent any amount of time in the SharePoint space, or even if you're responsible for a broader set of collaboration tools and solutions for your organization, you're likely also responsible for the metrics surrounding those solutions. How are you measuring them? Number of unique logins per month? Page views? Number of documents uploaded? Unfortunately, the typical website metrics don't do a good job of helping you understand whether people are finding value out of your collaboration solutions — and, most likely, you're not even capturing the many tools and websites that the average employee is actually using to get their job accomplished.

measuring_collab_success_smallEarlier this year, I started talking to a few folks within the SharePoint community about an idea for an initiative that would explore the topic of "collaboration success." It's been a couple months in the making, including the assembly of a panel of experts and the creation of several surveys to be launched over the course of the year. As of this morning, that initiative has gone live: the first survey in the 'Measuring Collaboration Success' initiative can now be found at http://bit.ly/1TKeUbu

I just posted an article over on the Beezy blog that walks through the plan launch, but I thought I'd add a bit more detail here, and encourage readers to fill out the brief survey (will take you less than 5 minutes, and can be done anonymously).

The purpose of this initiative is threefold: to understand how the community defines collaboration success, how they measure that success, and then how they deploy in a way that ensures the defined goal is met and that the proper measurements are in place. As I state in several places, the goal of this initiative is not about lead-generation for my company or any of the other participating companies. All responses are anonymous., If you'd like to receive the raw results of the survey, we do capture your email. However, we will not retain your email for sales or marketing purposes, and will delete the list after sending out the results when the survey closes in 6 to 8 weeks. Our intent is to keep this initiative vendor-neutral and independent, learning from the data and sharing our perspectives with the community.

Collaboration is a fairly broad topic that can encompass everything from email to instant messaging to real-time video communication. While we use a variety of technologies, the goals are fairly consistent across organizations: to share information, improve communication, and support corporate culture. We may approach collaboration in different ways, but we all consistently fail at defining "success." And if it is not well defined, how can we measure it and claim success?

Honestly, I'm really interested in seeing the community feedback and discussing the results with the panel. While most of the panelists are names you know from the community — experts, authors, speakers and MVPs — we all come from very diverse backgrounds in knowledge management and collaboration, and span many different roles and perspectives. Over the coming months, as the data is made available, I'll be conducting interviews and panel events with initiative members, and creating other whitepapers and ebooks.

Thanks again to everyone participating: John White (@diverdown1964), Sue Hanley (@susanhanley), Mark Kashman (@mkashman), Benjamin Niaulin (@bniaulin), Eric Overfield (@ericoverfield), Gregory Frick (@gregfrick), Yarin Negri (@cardiolog), Jason Himmelstein (@sharepointlhorn), Adam Levithan (@collabadam), Richard Harbridge (@rharbridge), Andrew Simmons (@innovationbrokr), Vlad Catrinescu (@vladcatrinescu), Jeff Fried (@jefffried), Eric Riz (@rizinsights), Michelle Caldwell (@shellecaldwell), Jeff Willinger (@jwillie), Michal Pisarek (@michalpisarek), Jared Shockley (@jshoq), Tamara Bredemus (@tamarabred), Curtis Hughes (@C5Curtis), and yes, even Marc Anderson (@sympmarc).

You can follow the initiative on Twitter at #MeasureCollabSuccess, and you can also follow the entire panel using the MeasureCollabSuccess Twitter list.

I encourage you to take a few minutes and participate in the survey at http://bit.ly/1TKeUbu. If you have any questions or feedback, please drop me a line.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Apps & Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and fractional-CMO for revealit.io, tyGraph, and Extranet User Manager.