One thing I've noticed is that often community managers will refer to the total number of users or visitors to their site. This makes sense for external customer-facing sites as an absolute measure of adoption, but one of the cool things about internal communities from a measurement perspective is that you have a constrained population of potential users to draw from -- so you can express adoption in terms of a proportion (i.e. what percent of my total user base is actively engaged in the community). One simple approach is to use the metrics below to show a trend over time:
1. Capture the total number of employees who are eligble to participate in the community = Total Population
2. Track the number of new registrants ("New Registrations" report) and tally over time = Registered Population
3. Track the number of active users ("Active Participants" report) and trend over time = Active Population
Active Population/Total Population = Penetration
Active Population/Registered Population = Engagement
This is admittedly pretty crude and depending on the technical implementation of your site (AD/LDAP integration for example), it may be less interesting to track registrations, but the active users report should be useful - an active user is defined as someone posting a piece of content (blogs, wikis, discussions, comments, etc). Also, if you have a web analytics tool implemented you can capture page viewing statistics -- but I'm certainly biased towards emphasizing active participation (content creation) during the early phases of community development as a good indicator of overall engagement.
In terms of what to expect -- hard to say. Has so much to do with the specific purpose of the community and how you role it out. Do you have any target set?
I was at a corporate communication conference last week and saw a presentation from the group at Sabre which is licensing a new enterprise social network called cubeless that they built from the gound up specifically to meet the needs of business users. They have pretty good adoption metrics in their own internal version called SabreTown:
- 65% of their 9,000 employees were using the system in the first 3 months after launch
- When a community member asks a question of the community, 60% of the time the question is answered within ONE HOUR
- As of the first 2 weeks of August 2008 (almost a year after launch) already more than 50% of the employees have visited SabreTown at least once during the month and the average number of pages viewed per visit is more than 30, so they have been able to maintain the momentum from launch
They showed a version of the admin module that showed all of the metrics that are accessible to measure the health of the community and their system allows you to measure and report in real time on a wide variety of metrics that are very helpful.