Enterprise social computing makes sense even in a down market given the hard cost reductions associated with even a modest investment, reports NewsGator.


Despite, or even because of, the current economic difficulties, enterprise companies should see innovative social computing solutions as ever more important,” NewsGator, the social computing company, asserts in a new white paper that the firm released recently.


NewsGator’s first-hand experience working with Fortune 500 executives on Enterprise 2.0 projects has revealed seven ways, many it says are far from obvious, to more than recoup the cost of a social computing initiative. They include reducing the costs of email storage, content, printing, enterprise software, travel, employee on-boarding and enterprise application integration.


1. Reducing email volume.

By connecting individuals to relevant people, information and community workspaces, social computing reduces the need to send messages and attached files as email. Email storage costs $500 per GB per year, and one Fortune 100 manufacturing company calculated that a simple 2 percent reduction in email volume could save $2.6 million per year. Social computing is a good way to accomplish that.


2. Reducing premium content costs.

Enterprise social computing is built on Really Simple Syndication (RSS), a technology for subscribing to the vast wealth of free online content. Though free, some companies are still paying dearly for the content through premium publication database services. One company NewsGator works with recently analyzed 500 randomly chosen articles it had paid for and discovered that as much as 90 percent of the content was free online. In addition to efficiently aggregating free content, social computing extracts more value from the content through social bookmarking, tagging and other efficient sharing activities.


3. Lower printing budgets.

Well-designed social computing solutions put important content on or near employees’ start pages, eliminating the need to visit disparate legacy systems and print information for review. Social computing also eases online sharing, editing, and reviewing of documents, further reducing the temptation to print, copy and distribute. One company NewsGator works with calculated that social computing could cut its printing and toner budgets by two-thirds.


4. Reducing expensive seats of enterprise software.

Seats of business intelligence, CRM, HR and innovation management software can be expensive. For a fraction of the cost, social computing solutions can execute the same functions with an even broader base of constituents. The result is better solutions faster for less money.


5. Trimming travel budgets.

Sixty percent of businesses are trying to cut travel expenses. Organizations are discovering that networking relevant people through appropriate channels and media is a very good substitute for face-to-face meetings, meaning deep savings in travel spending without productivity loss. Open, enhanced virtual communication across functions and locations also enhances a sense of job security and well-being so that employees remain productive despite economic stress.


6. Increasing talent management ROI.

Social computing attracts smart workers. Seventy-seven (77) percent of millennials use social networking sites, and 91 percent say that “newer, innovative technologies in the workplace would make them more likely to consider a potential job opportunity.” (Source: Millennials in Insurance Survey, KRC Research, April 2008). Social computing also reduces the cost of on-boarding new hires, providing them with rich content, connections and collaboration from day one.


7. Reducing enterprise application integration costs.

Social computing platforms can significantly reduce the need to assign employees to manage integrations between legacy systems and newer business applications. Through RSS and XML, social computing can cost-effectively deliver information, alerts and events to workstations or mobile devices – with the savings more than covering the cost of the social computing implementation.


For more information, including other social computing benefits, interested readers can download the white paper “Delivering ROI with Enterprise Social Computing.”

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