Guide to Building the Business Case for Work Tools with a Social UX

BusinessToolsMeeting.jpgGetting management buy-in for new tools and technologies at work isn’t always the easiest task. You have to be prepared to show how that tool can help the company reach its goals and ultimately boost the bottom line.

It’s all in how you present the information to business stakeholders. In the business case for a social collaboration tool, there are several benefits you can present that will make it easier to get the higher-ups to say yes.

For example, work tools with a social user experience (UX) tend to be adopted more often by employees. Why? They like using them. The tools have been designed with them in mind. And that means you’ll recoup the investment, an important consideration to the people you’re likely proffering the solution to.

Investment.gifOther benefits can be couched similarly. Here we take a look at a couple of them, as well as a deeper dive into the higher adoption rate.

  1. Adoption

Employees like simple tools that help them do their jobs faster and easier. Research firm Gartner found that for a social business tool to be successful, it has to address how people work and their needs. The main focus is the people – what they need to do their jobs, whom they work with, how they best collaborate, what style works best for them.

That’s why a social UX makes it easier to adopt and use than a tool that might meet their work needs but not how they work. By implementing a design that mimics how people are already interacting with each other, they will be more likely to use it often. A social collaboration tool that lets people start conversations, share knowledge and collaborate will see higher adoption rates.

The best way to frame this conversation when presenting it to management is in terms of product development. You wouldn’t create a product in the hopes that some unknown audience would buy it; you research the potential consumers first and develop the product second. It gives you a strategic advantage and a more complete financial forecast.

And that’s the way to present a social collaboration tool to upper management. They get market research and financial metrics. Use those things when seeking funds for a social UX.

  1. Ease of Use

Ease of use closely ties with the adoption rate. If a tool is needed but isn’t easy to use, people won’t use it. It’s a waste of their time and your money.

If the tool is easy to use but doesn’t improve day-to-day workflow, the same scenario holds true – employees won’t use the tool. It might be a fun diversion, but a diversion isn’t what’s wanted or needed. It needs to be a work tool that’s fun, easy to use and impactful.

That’s where a social UX can be helpful. If you already have a good tool, improve upon it. Integrating it with a social intranet that adds a layer of social UX will help your team get more things done and meet business goals.

The argument here is similar to the one found with adoption. Technology is a necessity, but it has to be the right one. The right technology enables employees and produces a return on investment.

  1. Engagement

Engagement is the natural result of a well-designed and useful tool, when people use the application often. It becomes integrated into their work lives in much the same way that Facebook is linked to their personal ones.

A social user experience can only improve upon that engagement rate. People use work tools to get work done. A social component builds upon that, letting employees not only finish their work faster, but also get assistance from peers, collaborate on projects or learn something new.

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 High-level executives know employee engagement and workplace satisfaction are top concerns today. Present the social UX as a way to increase engagement, and you’ll see upper management nodding in agreement.

  1. Efficiency and Productivity

“Getting things done” has come up multiple times throughout this piece, and there’s a reason for that. Work tools with a social UX can improve processes and workflows, leading to gains in efficiency and productivity. In fact, a McKinsey Global Institute report that found that social technologies within an enterprise can “raise the productivity of knowledge workers by 20% to 25%.”

This may well be the most convincing argument of all when it comes to getting buy-in for a social collaboration platform. Upper-level management understands what comes with higher efficiency and productivity: more sales and more opportunities.

You will have to do some homework, however. Business stakeholders will ask questions about how many more sales and opportunities. You don’t have to have exact numbers, but you should have some ballpark figures and estimations. Go in prepared and you’ll leave with the support and resources needed to implement work tools with a social UX.

Work tools integrated with a social UX are hugely beneficial as they can increase engagement, productivity and are often easier to use that most other tools. But to see those benefits in your workplace, you’ll have to speak the stakeholders’ language. Learn what matters to them, present your case accordingly and go home with a social UX tool in tow.

SocialUXBenefitsTheOffice.gifNow that you’ve successfully presented your business case for a social collaboration tool, check out this infographic on the Top 10 Tips to Improve Adoption.

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