IDC recently undertook a large global survey of information workers and IT professionals on behalf of Adobe to better understand the productivity challenges that cost information workers time, and put a dollar value on that unproductive time. The bottom line: conservatively, the cost to an organization of 1,000 employees is nearly $16m a year.
This is a huge cost, but it’s also a tremendous opportunity. As our research shows, time wasted on unproductive tasks adds up to a 21.3% hit on the organization’s overall productivity. Addressing the time wasters would be equivalent to adding 213 employees in a 1,000 person organization – employees who could be out selling and supporting customers, designing and building new products, innovating and driving the business forward.
We’ve seen plenty of investment in business process improvement over the past few years, but most of these efforts are aimed at re-engineering or automating business processes that are system-to-system, or system-to-human. Our research findings on information worker productivity suggest that organizations need to place similar emphasis on improving individual productivity and human-to-human business processes.
There’s some evidence that executives in many organizations are recognizing the importance of information worker productivity. IDC’s CIO survey research shows productivity is a top priority this year. But where to start?
A surprising finding in our survey is that information workers spend a very large percentage of their time working with documents in one way or another – researching and gathering information for documents, creating, merging edits and comments from multiple reviewers into a single revision, managing the document approval process and obtaining approvals and signatures, and dealing with forms and forms data. As it turns out, quite a bit of this time is spent dealing with a variety of frustrations and challenges. It’s no one single thing – it’s a whole slew of time wasters that fall broadly under personal productivity and collaboration.
We think the challenges working with documents are only increasing as employees increasingly work on the go using smartphones and tablets in addition to their PCs, and collaborate with people outside the organization. And not just for information workers: the growing needs around mobility and external collaboration are also creating new challenges for IT around security and risk management, so we believe the time is now to address document-based productivity issues.
Does your organization have a program underway to improve information worker productivity? If so, what steps are you taking? If not, what’s holding you back?
Read more in the full IDC white paper, here.
Melissa Webster, program vice president, IDC
Follow Melissa Webster on Twitter: mwebster_idc