Searching for Information in the Enterprise – A Waste of Money

businessman between clock and gold balance on seesaw

ROI’s for search tools no longer means Return on Investment, it means Return of Information.

Once you look at how quickly gathering information in the world has changed, you’ll be dizzy. Since 1990, the electronic information has increased more than tenfold. According to a Forrester Research study, the emergence of electronic information will increase by about 200% per year.

Many directors and CIOs underestimate one of the most important financial resources: time. According to a study by Bain & Company, executives today received 30,000 emails per year. If this trend continues, top managers will soon spend more than a full day per week on electronic communications. Colleagues in a large company fare no better – they often spend 25% of their time on the search for information. This costs companies a lot of money every day.


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How much money is lost by businesses on searches?

The Federal Statistics Office has announced in a recent release that the average hourly wage in 2013 was 31.50 Euros per hour. For simplicity, we’ll round down to 30 Euros per hour. If all employees are working a regular eight hour workday and spend 25% (2 hours) of their time (often wasted) in the search for relevant information, then you have invested 60 Euros per employee – every day.

So all total, over 13,000 Euros per employee per year has been spent, purely on a general search for relevant information. In our calculation, we assume conservatively that at least 1 hour per day will be spent on search, within the companies own data pool (emails / documents) per employee. Now we have 220 working days per year spent on search, where an employee is actively looking through internal documents for at least 1 hour per day.

The productivity loss calculation is like this:

(# of employees) * (average hourly wage) * (search time per employee) * (work days per year) = cost per year in Euros. (1 employee) * (30 Euros) * (1 hour) * (220 days) = 6,600 euros in costs per year.

Of course the search for information is part of everyday business and can never be eliminated completely.


Can the costs incurred by searches be reduced?

Let us assume conservatively, that we can halve – ie by implementing an adequate Enterprise Search solution – the internal search time, so that only 0.5 hours per employee is being spent on internal searches. That would save the company approximately 3,300 Euros per year, and that’s only for 1 employee. Now do the math and apply that to a company with 50, 100 or even 500 employees.

To make it short, if you look at your number of employees over the next three years, the number and effort lost should scare you. You should also remember that data volume will be way higher in three years! The velocity of the data flood won’t be decreasing, but rather increasing. The most underrated component in business is, unfortunately, the loss of time. The daily loss of time by searching for information can be a very expensive investment for any company. There are many solutions to this costly search problem. One of these approaches is Lookeen. In January 2008, Axonic brought Lookeen, a solution for a professional data and email search, onto the market and has since sold it in more than 100 countries. Today Lookeen is used for efficient data search in more than 25,000 companies.

Date: 05. Dec 2014
Author: Eric Ebert
Tags: Desktop Search Enterprise Search Search Benefits

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