How Humana measures the benefits of its enterprise social network

You know you are making a difference by opening up discussion in a social channel. Now how can you prove that to the higher-ups?

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Just about any pointy-haired boss, at a loss for something relevant to say, is well advised to demand an accounting of a project’s return on investment.

Enterprise social networks, or ESNs, get their share of scrutiny. Bosses want to know the return. Yet that’s odd, when considered another way.

“When was the last time anybody asked you for the ROI on email?” says Brenda Rick Smith, former community manager for Humana’s thriving enterprise social network. “Have you ever been asked for the ROI of the telephone system? Probably not. It’s just assumed that there’s value there. It’s just way we get business done.”

(Jeff Ross has since become the community manager, and Smith has transitioned to a new role leading new role leading social listening and social intelligence efforts.)

In a session titled “What Difference Does It Make? Measure the impact of your enterprise social network,” Smith explains how to establish ROI. She does this even though her team’s goal is to reach a point where the value is so obvious, there’s no need to ask.

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