Productivity, Time Management, More Money?

I think many of us would agree that increased productivity can occur with more efficient use of time and better time management. Jakob Nielsen, writing his latest Alertbox about intranet design with his usual flare, proclaims that:

“The average mid-sized company could gain $5 million per year in employee productivity by improving its intranet design to the top quartile level of a cross-company intranet usability study. The return on investment? One thousand percent or more.”

I was not at all surprised to read that their study found that intranets lacked good management support and often were put together haphazardly without a solid central design in place. I’ve heard this for ages from colleagues and in discussion lists. Perhaps Nielsen’s study will help bring much-needed awareness to management, maybe even in time for their 2003 budget planning.

I also hope companies will read and really listen to this recommendation in particular:

“Intranet teams can only accomplish so much through heroic efforts. Management must give them the budget to buy necessary software, to develop design standards and conduct usability studies, and to write content and implement tools that help employees increase their productivity. Intranet teams must also have the authority to enforce design standards and ensure a unified intranet.”

All too often, though, as Nielsen’s study also found, company intranets (and Internet websites, from what I’ve seen) are not given adequate budgets and thus fall very short of being the otherwise helpful and important tools they could be if properly funded.

I’ve also seen lack of awareness by management of what’s possible with an intranet. I suspect that increased knowledge about available technology and how it could be beneficially used for their company would also make a difference with budget planning to help create better intranets.

The bottom line is money. Nielsen’s study may provide some of the necessary evidence to your boss that better intranet funding can save the company money by more efficient use of time. Nielsen projects a worldwide savings of around $1.3 trillion per year with improved intranet usability. As with many statements that Nielsen makes, these numbers may indeed be debated; however, I do feel it holds true that time is money and that improved usability can save time and thus save money.


John Rhodes speaks out on Nielsen’s latest article, Spanking Jakob Nielsen.

01:00 pm, pst11 November, 2002 Comments, Trackbacks ·';}?>

Categories: Reviews, Usability

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