Measuring ROI From Your Digital Collaboration Tools


Rolling out an enterprise collaboration tool like Yammer, Slack, Microsoft Teams and Workplace by Facebook is a monumental task, but some of the greatest challenges come after adoption. As a champion for collaboration at your organization, you might be left asking yourself... now what?

In order to prove the value of enterprise collaboration and push adoption to the next level, you must illustrate the tangible benefits of a digital workplace.

Whether you’re presenting to your leadership team or working with departmental movers and shakers, this guide helps you quantify and articulate value to key stakeholders.

Quick Note...

The purpose of this resource is to help you estimate the potential value of your enterprise collaboration investments. It is not at all a guarantee of return-on-your-investment. Only you can control the realized value of your enterprise collaboration tools.

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Calculate the ROI of Your Digital Workplace

Depending on your objective—impressions, comments and shares are great indicators of success. However, those metrics likely won’t grab your executive’s attention. Effectively demonstrate the value of enterprise collaboration when you reframe the story in terms of tangible costs and savings.

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Get Leadership Attention with HOW You Articulate Success

Collaboration tools break down silos and increase workplace efficiency, which are crucial concerns of most leaders in today’s business. To demonstrate tangible value you need to frame the impact in terms of your organization’s business goals.

Executives want to see improvement on these, it’s simply a matter of setting baseline metrics and having the tools you need to measure them effectively.

For example, if your internal communications team wants to increase the number of employees who feel connected to their company, identify a benchmark that strikes the heart of that challenge. Internal pre-rollout data is preferable, but external data will get the job done. In this scenario, a poll conducted by Gallup found that 74% of employees feel they’re out
of the loop with company news. Using this example, if you can quantitatively demonstrate how enterprise collaboration reduces the time for an announcement to reach all employees, you are on your way to success.

Measure and Articulate Active Digital Workplace Engagement

In order to articulate the value that enterprise collaboration brings, you must firstly demonstrate that employees actively use the tool to communicate with each other. Basic evidence of engagement doesn’t just show that people use the tool, it shows that data is created by its use and holds the potential to provide deeper insights.

No matter which enterprise collaboration platform your organization uses, there are simple ways to find active user numbers. Active usage statistics are valuable as a standalone metric, but they also make calculating the ROI of enterprise collaboration much more effective. Workplace by Facebook provides usage insights to all organizations using their paid product, Yammer and Teams offer activity reports, and Slack has an extensive analytics dashboard. Take advantage of these resources to get the ball rolling on proving engagement.


Connect Enterprise Collaboration Outcomes to the Bottom Line

If you want to unlock the true value of a digital workplace for your organization, full buy-in from your leadership team is a necessity. This means you need to frame success in a way that makes key stakeholders pay attention: the impact of collaboration on the bottom line. There are three key formulas you can use, which calculate the impact of collaboration on onboarding costs, hiring costs and communication costs.

Measuring Collaboration Impact on Onboarding Costs

Nothing is certain in life except death, taxes, and onboarding costs. There’s no avoiding them completely, but with the right strategy they don’t have to create such a burden. Training Magazine estimates that it costs $986 to onboard a new employee.

Forrester reports that Workplace by Facebook can reduce employee turnover by 10% and Microsoft Teams can reduce employee turnover by 11.8%. With decreased turnover, you can expect to onboard fewer employees that would replace those roles.


Measuring Collaboration Impact on Hiring Costs

It’s no secret that finding talent is expensive. SHRM estimates that the average cost-per-hire is a staggering $4,129. With a number like that, a significant reduction in employee turnover has a very real impact on the bottom line.

Again, Forrester reports that Workplace by Facebook can reduce employee turnover by 10% and Microsoft Teams can reduce employee turnover by 11.8%. With this data point, you can calculate a reduction in annual hiring costs due to decreased turnover.


Measuring Enterprise Collaboration Impact on Productivity Costs

Time spent sharing knowledge and communicating with one another is incredibly expensive. Employees spend up to 80% of their time at work communicating—that’s 32 hours out of a 40 hour work week!

However, efficient, real-time communication can increase employee productivity by up to 25% according to a study by McKinsey. Understand the financial impacts of leveraging collaboration to decrease the amount of time employees spend looking for knowledge, thereby increasing productivity. By considering an average salary of USD $47,060, you can calculate the total cost avoided when your organization invests in tools that decrease communication inefficiencies.



Understand the Value of Managed Collaboration

One of the greatest areas for potential ROI from collaboration tools is through risk management. The ease and flexibility of cloud applications has led to their rise across the workforce. Various free or inexpensive applications are easy to spin up, but IT can’t monitor, secure or control company data if they don’t know which applications employees use.

Enterprise collaboration helps employees work faster and more efficiently, as many other cloud applications do, but also makes it possible for infosecurity leaders to protect sensitive data in digital workplace environments.


Use Collaboration to Reduce Cost of a Data Breach

IBM released an extensive report in May 2019 on the costs of data breaches, and those findings informed the following recommendations. Use these approaches to ease the concerns of wary infosecurity leaders.

  • Participate in threat sharing:
    Threat sharing is an important practice when mitigating the aftermath of a breach. This is the process of communicating risks with others in your organization and industry to finesse your insider threat detection practices in the digital workplace. Leverage a content monitoring solution that surfaces shared sensitive content.
    Estimated Cost Reduction Per Breached Record: $9.41 
  • Use security analytics:
    The use of data to proactively identify and respond to areas of risk can affect the cost of breach dramatically. When it comes to enterprise collaboration, finding embedded threats poses a challenge due to the unstructured data sets: messages, images and files. Use a collaboration-first monitoring and analytics solution that uses natural language processing to interpret the potential risk level of shared content.
    Estimated Cost Reduction Per Breached Record: $7.84
  • Use artificial intelligence:
    Leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to create automation that monitors employee communications 24/7. This saves infosecurity hours and creates an objective filter for insider threat identification.
    Estimated Cost Reduction Per Breached Record: $9.02
  • Data classification schema:
    Data classification schema helps surface the sensitive and confidential information that is vulnerable to breach and reduce the volume of such information. Configure a rules-based enterprise collaboration monitoring solution with categorized policies such as sensitivity and criticality.
    Estimated Cost Reduction Per Breached Record: $5.10
  • Data loss prevention (DLP):
    Companies leverage DLPs to prevent sharing of sensitive or critical information outside the corporate network. This comes into play with external networks like multi-company groups in Workplace or external messaging in Yammer. Leverage monitoring solutions to identify instances of unauthorized data sharing.
    Estimated Cost Reduction Per Breached Record: $7.06
  • Employee Training:
    Educate employees on secure sharing practices and empower them to take action if a data breach occurs. Educate workers in real-time with a monitoring solution that identifies risky content sharing and automatically coaches employees in response.
    Estimated Cost Reduction Per Breached Record: $10.59

According to IBM, organizations are 29.6% likely to experience a breach over a two-year period. Data breaches are a tough reality, so it’s crucial that organizations consider the sensitive data living in their digital workplaces. A study from McAfee shows that over 4% of all messages shared in collaboration contain sensitive data.


Use Enterprise Collaboration to Avoid Costs Caused by Toxic Employees

Despite the importance of company culture, human resource teams often have an opaque view into its actual state. Collaboration tools create a treasure trove of data that Human Resources team can leverage to achieve goals.

According to a study by Cornerstone OnDemand, 3-5% of all employees meet the criteria for termination due to toxic behavior. These toxic employees are expensive and harmful to brand reputations. A study by Harvard Business School estimates a cost of $12,489 to replace a toxic worker, as well as the surrounding employees who left voluntarily in response to a toxic team member. Furthermore, research shows that a toxic employee has a 30% impact on the productivity of the 20 employees closest to them.

However, collecting sufficient hard evidence to rationalize firing a toxic employee can prove difficult. As employee communications move onto digital platforms, uncovering evidence becomes easier. Whether it’s discovering harassment or identifying consistently negative behavior on enterprise collaboration platforms, human resources teams can leverage third-party monitoring solutions and revolutionize the way they identify and deal with toxic employees.


Calculate Enterprise Collaboration ROI

While enterprise collaboration isn’t a revenue driver per se, there are two tangible ways the digital workplace impacts the bottom line, as outlined previously: cost reduction and cost avoidance.

Use the formulas provided earlier in the guide to calculate a total estimated impact of your enterprise collaboration. Divide that by your annual investment to get the quantitative return on your investment.

This calculation connects dollars your organization spent with tangible dollars of value delivered. Presenting a research-backed ROI metric to your leadership will reliably answer the question: was enterprise collaboration worth our investment?

Interactive calculator

Calculate the ROI of Your Digital Workplace

Depending on your objective—impressions, comments and shares are great indicators of success. However, those metrics likely won’t grab your executive’s attention. Effectively demonstrate the value of enterprise collaboration when you reframe the story in terms of tangible costs and savings.

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