It’s hard to say, as it depends on what the technology is, what it can do, and how readily (and often) it’s embraced by your people, but it’s probably worth it. Video conferencing reduces travel (which not only takes up time, but costs money at an average of over 1,000 a trip per person), online document sharing reduces wait-times (when you have to rely on mail or courier), and online inter-enterprise information sharing reduces issue resolution time (as compared to phone and fax tag).
If the tools enable collaboration, and you use them with the intent of collaboration, they certainly have ROI, as evidenced by this recent article in Talent Management on What’s Your Return on Collaboration?. According to the article, an implementation of an online meeting and conference solution at SAP generated the following returns for the company:
- a reduction of the average meeting time by 20% which reduces the average amount of time an employee spends in meetings each week by over an hour and a half
- a reduction in meeting start-up time by over 85% which can save another hour a week if an employee has to attend between 7 and 10 meetings
- a reduction in travel costs by over 33% which is generally more than what you will save if you just negotiate better rates
- a 4-fold increase in collaboration attempts — when it’s easier to try and work with someone than work alone, collaboration happens
Now, this is only one case study, but it’s still impressive. Make it easy for your employees to work together, and they will.