so-for-teams September 13, 2022

Forrester Consulting TEI Study: Five ways Stack Overflow for Teams delivered 191% ROI

In a new study commissioned by Stack Overflow, The Total Economic Impact of Stack Overflow for Teams, Forrester Consulting found that customers saved $9.5M over three years with a payback period of less than 6 months.

Organizations today stare down big challenges around attracting and retaining talent, achieving organizational resiliency, protecting against knowledge loss, and supporting collaboration and innovation. Our customers are using Stack Overflow for Teams to meet these challenges.

We know from our customers’ stories that Stack Overflow for Teams is delivering value: reducing the time people spend asking and answering questions, dismantling knowledge silos, and speeding up the time-to-proficiency of new employees. But how much value does Stack Overflow for Teams deliver, in terms of economic impact, and on what timeline?

We commissioned the experts at Forrester Consulting to help us answer these questions, which they did in a new study, The Total Economic Impact™ of Stack Overflow For Teams.

Key findings from the study

To arrive at their analysis of the costs and benefits of investing in Stack Overflow for Teams, Forrester interviewed five different organizations with experience using the platform. Forrester then aggregated interviewee experiences into a single composite organization for the purposes of the study.

Ultimately, Forrester found that Stack Overflow delivered $14.42 million in benefits to the composite customer over three years and costs $4.95 million over the same time period. This puts the net present value (NPV) of Stack Overflow for Teams just shy of $9.5 million, with a return on investment (ROI) of 191%. Forrester quantified the benefits of Stack Overflow for Teams as follows:

  • Time saved for employees who are searching for information: $2.3 million
  • Time saved for employees who provide knowledge to their peers: $9.5 million
  • Accelerated time-to-proficiency for new hires: $2.6 million

Let’s dig a bit deeper into how Stack Overflow for Teams helped the composite realize these benefits, and let’s cover the unquantified but still-meaningful benefits found in the Forrester study.

How Stack Overflow for Teams delivered on its 191% ROI

Quantified benefits

Time saved for employees searching for knowledge

Before Stack Overflow for Teams, developers and technologists burned time scouring knowledge sources, tools, and trying to track down the right subject matter expert (SME) to answer their questions. With Stack Overflow for Teams, they are able to find answers to questions that have already been asked and answered. The ability to access and reuse this high-quality information saves significant time. 

Forrester found that implementing Stack Overflow for Teams caused the number of questions developers ask their colleagues to drop by 65% in year one and by 85% in year three, as the knowledge base grew and employees were able to self-serve answers to their questions. The time it took to find answers decreased by 66%, amounting to $2.3 million in savings over three years for the composite organization.

Time saved for employees providing knowledge

When knowledge isn’t preserved and made available for search and reuse, SMEs find themselves answering the same questions over and over again, across emails, chat programs, and tagged comments. The barrage of interruptions and constant context-switching keeps your most knowledgeable employees from focusing on their core responsibilities and makes them less content at work. 

With Stack Overflow for Teams, Forrester found that the number of questions asked of individual developers dropped by 65% in year one and 85% in year three because their peers were able to reuse knowledge that had been captured and preserved. The time saved adds up to $9.5 million for the composite organization over three years. 

Faster time-to-proficiency for new hires

Stack Overflow for Teams gives new employees a self-service platform where they can easily access content-rich knowledge, insight, and experience from their coworkers. Giving new hires the tools to educate themselves with the knowledge they need as they need it shortens the time-to-proficiency for these new hires. It also avoids imposing additional burdens on more seasoned employees who might otherwise spend hours answering questions from their new coworkers.

As you might expect, this benefit is especially pronounced for entry-level and junior developers: for this group, Forrester found that Stack Overflow for Teams improves time-to-proficiency by 5% in the first year and 9% in the third year. Over three years, this means $2.6 million in savings for the composite organization.

Qualitative benefits

Accelerated innovation

Interviewees told Forrester that Stack Overflow for Teams “increased collaboration and information exchange among developers” at their organizations, an improvement that accelerated innovation and shortened time-to-market for new solutions.

This accelerated innovation is due in large part to the communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing enabled by Stack Overflow for Teams. The Forrester study found that the platform “was a main point of contact and knowledge transfer for colleagues spread across different teams and geographies and who were often working remotely.” Interviewees reported that Stack Overflow for Teams made them feel more connected to their colleagues. Breaking down the knowledge silos that inhibit collaboration and knowledge exchange allows organizations to deliver more value to their customers more quickly.

Improved employee experience

The Forrester study reveals that employees of interviewed organizations are generally highly satisfied with Stack Overflow for Teams. The platform’s high adoption rate is partly driven by the fact that most developers are already comfortable with Stack Overflow’s public site, where they know they can find high-quality knowledge and answers to specific questions. “Developers are used to the public version,” explains one interviewee, a director of software development in the AI industry, “so that made our adoption of Stack Overflow for Teams more seamless. Our employees love it and there is no real reason to choose something else—we know the adoption would never ever be as fast.”

What could your organization do with Stack Overflow for Teams?

Implementing Stack Overflow for Teams makes developers’ working lives easier and more productive. This contributes to developer satisfaction at work, improving your ability to attract and retain the best developers, and improves team and organizational resiliency. In addition, a knowledge sharing and collaboration platform like Stack Overflow for Teams improves developer productivity, fosters collaboration between individuals and teams, and gives employees access to learning opportunities that not only increase their job satisfaction but also empower them to pour more value back into your organization.

To learn more about the economic impact of Stack Overflow for Teams, download the Forrester Consulting study, The Total Economic Impact™ of Stack Overflow for Teams.

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