Generically, ROI is a combination of cost savings and increased revenue. The difficulty lies in accurately accounting for and precisely measuring all of the line items that need to be plugged in to the equation. At its most basic, it can be expressed as follows:
ROI = the sum of (+/- Savings) and (+/- Revenue) over a period of time
The challenge is twofold: accurately forecasting ROI and maximizing the actual results of the solution.
Maximizing ROI results
ROI is intimately connected to changes in organizational and individual behavior. At its best, Portals introduce new efficiencies, improves quality and acts as a catalyst for entirely new ways of working. However, technical innovation and Solution engineering prowess are not sufficient; end user adoption is “the last mile” of Solution ROI. Successful enterprise solutions are not installed with an installation wizard; it is assimilated into existing habits and practices.
User Adoption – Maximizing results
Adoption is best defined as the deployment of technology plus the assimilation of all behaviors the new technology is intended to facilitate plus the abandonment of old behaviors that are to be eliminated.
Information work is thinking work. And when thinking and Collaboration are assisted by computer technology you hare a digital nervous system. It consists of the advanced digital processes that knowledge workers use to make better decisions. To think, adapt and react.
Bill Gates
The adoption rate is the rate at which the user population adopts best practices and abandons outdated behaviors. For example, if a portal is intended to eliminate duplicate Work effort but the users are still reinventing the wheel and not working together even though the portal operational, there is not complete adoption and the forecasted savings wont be realized. Table 1 depicts general adoption rates and provides the users.
  Early adopters Late Adopter
User Profile

20-30% of population

Embrace change

Rick takers

70-80% of population

Resist change

Avoid risk

Time Frame 6 months 6-18months +
User Adoption framework
We now understand that successful enterprise solutions are not installed with an installation wizard; they are assimilated into existing habits and practices which requires business (and users to) change. As my marketing professor once said “Ron, people hate change…” and therefore an all encompassing strategy and framework for addressing this change is required.
To address change, a user adoption framework should be adopted by companies and consists of the following as shown in table 2:
Framework area of focus Goals Deliverables
Business vision Define the business vision, key success factors and resulting improvement metrics Business Requirements
User requirements Determine the needs of the users User contextual work analysis Information Architecture
Management and User Representative Governance and Steering Govern direction, staffing and content Steering committee and decision framework
Design Develop a design that maps to he users tasks and goals and is intuitive Solution design
Architecture Develop an architecture that provides the services required over the serviceable life of the solution (3-5 years) System Architecture to support new system
Awareness Communication Communication plan and road show to create awareness Communication team, tools and forum
Training Training plan and support structure Training plan, tools and forum
Deployment Deploy a POC, Pilot or full deployment
Solution deployed in some manner
User Feedback mechanisms Feedback mechanism to improve on service
Surveys and Feedback sessions
Usage Measurement Measure usage based on user deployments Usage measuring tools and Standard reporting metrics
Staff planning Day to day staff and Build and deploy staff Project budget, Change request and SOW
For a company to achieve its ROI, user adoption must be front and center to a companies project from early inception through to ongoing management. The adoption rate is in which the user population adopts best practices and abandons outdated behaviors will be a challenge to manage since organizational change is always difficult due to human factors. Resistance to change, awareness are common for any new business process and technology but can be managed using aggressive communications, training and performance measurement.