A thought I had a few weeks ago on a measurable value outcome of switching to social computing reflects a common situation in our company: mailing large files around. Simply said, many enterprise mail systems such as Lotus Notes allow the central administrator to set a limit on attached file sizes.
By imposing a limit around say 4MB, and redirecting people to use Lotus Connections Files to share large documents, you save: a) network bandwidth usage; and b) storage of multiple copies on local drives and on mail servers.
LC Files on the other hand adds lots of other benefits like re-sharing without re-forwarding the files, comments w/o re-forwarding, and lookups on who it is shared with (or not).
This activity may not be practically measurable per person when you have many thousands of people. On the other hand you can measure the quantity of documents and their file sizes, on the email system versus LC. What it comes down is a known (or knowable) IT cost factor of $ per MB. IT departments could show the cost savings directly due to reduced infrastructure use and resource impact.
What it does change is user behavior. The first necessary element is a tool that can automatically redirect where the document is stored (a link to it on LC Files) rather than the email. The second part is enforcement through the file size limit. You really need the redirector to work smoothly so people do not see this as a burdensome task.
So in a direct way, you have a measurable outcome related to
hard $ amounts. This kind of alternative mechanism works easily for files, and
is still just a basic step in moving towards enterprise social computing. Slowly,
What I'd be additionally interested in is looking at the trends of how re-sharing occurs after such a switch. It's pretty common to see people re-forwarding a file to others but this allows a better alternative. In a limited sense, it can also improve security: if the user does not allow publicly share a document, it may be limited to only those they intend. Of course, there are always alternatives and other mailers but it's good manners to keep to their request.