Workplace productivity is one of the key challenges of the modern enterprise, especially for knowledge workers. In knowledge-based economies, knowledge workers account for an increasingly large percentage of the total workforce (estimated at over 40% in the U.S. today by various sources). At the same time, we are experiencing a never-ending information explosion. For instance, the latest official data release from Google mentions 1.2 trillion search queries yearly, which is more than eight times more than in 2005.
An increasing amount of working time is spent sifting through information. An interesting study by McKinsey in 2012 found that knowledge workers were spending more than 60% of their time in activities unrelated to their role, such as email management, meetings, and searches for internal information. User-centered Intranets aim at improving employee efficiency by reducing the time spent in those general activities.
Decrease email overload
In 2012, knowledge workers were spending 28% of their work time handling emails. Today, this percentage is likely even higher. In 2015, the number of business emails sent and received per user totalled 122 emails per day. This figure continues to grow and is expected to average 126 messages sent and received daily per business user by the end of 2019.
Assuming that you need at least two minutes to handle each email on average, including interruption time, 122 daily emails represent four hours of daily work—close to 50% of the average work day.
A social intranet significantly decreases the number of work-related emails, by replacing endless email threads with contextualized, easily scannable, sticky social stream conversations or instant messaging direct interactions.
Speed up internal information search
The information explosion also invades the enterprise space—finding the right policy, the right template, the right people, the right data, the right color chart, etc. etc. etc. On average, at least 19% of working time is spent searching for internal information.
An Intranet traditionally provides a unique point of entry to company information, often including a knowledge base and facilitating the search through search engines and information classification.
Facilitate administrative processes
Internal processes can take a significant amount of employee work time, especially for new employees. The time varies with the company, but processing vacation requests, expenses, timesheets, and travel does take time.
A company Intranet solution can provide a unique point of entry to these routine company processes through integration with existing business applications. With this type of integration, business processes can usually be accelerated and facilitated.
Reduce meeting time
Internal meetings take up to 15% of an average employee’s time. That figure is much higher for management and middle management positions. While meetings are necessary and important, implementing a collaboration Intranet for your company will improve team productivity throughout the company.
Some meetings will naturally disappear—for example, the routine cross-department meeting scheduled for communications purposes without a precise agenda. Others will become more productive due to the previous and regular online collaboration.
As a result, some travel costs can be reduced, as well as the time lost getting to meetings.
Collaboration Intranet solution facilitates all interactions and teamwork, including several business functions or several geographies, improving project team productivity and project outcome. A few real-life examples:
A complex RFP would require less response time from contributors
Crowdsourcing ideas would accelerate innovation
A tricky support question could be treated in less time and with a better quality response
Company Intranet ROI through productivity gains
The financial impact of improved productivity in the workplace can be huge. In fact, it is the single most compelling argument to justify the ROI of a company Intranet. For example, if you manage to improve email management time by just 15%, annual productivity gains would represent close to 3% of your annual employee costs once your Intranet starts gaining company-wide adoption.
The tricky part is to justify those gains to management. In order to do that, you need to estimate time spent on different activities in your company and estimate what you expect to gain with the new Intranet. For example :
- To estimate email management time, dig out email volume statistics from the IT team. Then run some time estimation calculations.
- To estimate information search time, find a couple of examples of what it takes to find a particular piece of information in real life and extrapolate.
- Take a couple of administrative processes and map out how much time they take.
- Use a couple of cross-departments collaboration use cases (RFP response, new product launch) and estimate what they required in terms of meetings, travel, and email exchanges.
- Make assumptions about what could be improved through new Intranet use, using a low and a high estimate.
Using real-life examples of time waste and time gain within your particular company would help illustrate the value of the Intranet to your company in terms of productivity gains and the cost savings linked to those gains.
To conclude with a ballpark estimate: productivity gains from a successful user-centered Intranet can be as high as 30%. A conservative average would be a 15% improvement. Finally, as with any new technology or feature, good Intranet adoption is essential for any significant productivity gains.
Let us know if the post has been helpful to you by leaving a comment or contacting us. Good luck in your collaboration initiative!