I've been getting a number of reporters asking about the ROI behind an application like Clearspace lately. My general response is that it's a fool's exercise. Trying to determine if the savings and revenue increase are worth the expense is like trying to measure whether the view from atop Everest was worth the climb -- it's exceedingly hard to measure and it should be painfully obvious.

 

Aaron Johnson, one of Clearspace engineers, pointed me to a great piece by James Snell, one of the minds behind Lotus Connections.

"The goal you should be looking to achieve is not increased sales revenue or a measurable productivity increase. Instead, what youre looking to do is capture the conversations that typical occur in the hallways between meetings, the short yet invaluable lists of todos that go along with any project, the random thoughts and insights that come to us throughout the day but usually end up getting lost somewhere between checking the morning email and the three hour long sales meeting."

He's more eloquent than me on the subject, but the point is the same. My message has been, 'for less than the cost of pens (an actual quote from a recent prospect), you can free up all the knowledge that's stuck in people's heads, left at the water cooler or trapped in an email outbox for eternity.'

 

I'm sure some analysts somewhere will start measuring productivity output, satisfaction levels and resolution times. The rest of us will be enjoying the view.