Efficiencies for your Organization with Real ROI

By Ryan Barton | June 27, 2014

A stat we love to quote: “10 minutes per day… adds up to over 40 hours a year.”

Sit in on a few meetings with someone from Mainstay, and odds are you’ll hear this stat at least once! To us, it represents the incredible, compounding power of efficiency through technology.

Why are we so passionate about efficiency?

Small tasks, minor inconveniences, occasional slowdowns, and imperceptible bottlenecks can result in an organization losing weeks worth of productivity each year.  By upgrading just one system that saves staff 10 minutes per day, you can reclaim a full 40 hours of productivity within one year – per staff member.

Here are some examples to consider:
Let’s look at the time savings between two fictional organizations, performing a few common tasks:

1. Logging in each morning:

  • Organization A:  Turn on the computer, wait several minutes, login, wait several more minutes, open up each software application, begin work.  Estimated time: 8 minutes.
  • Organization B:  Login. Resume work. Estimated time: 30 seconds.

The difference?
Organization B recognizes the value of time and trains staff to leave their applications open, and simply lock their computer each night (Windows Key + L will password protect your computer), so they can login and resume work each day.

2. Reporting on financial data:

  • Organization A: Export data from finance software into Excel, manipulate data, update charts, double check figures and formulas, fiddle with margins, print reports. Estimated time: 3 hours.
  • Organization B:  Run report, hit print.  Estimated time: 5 minutes.

The difference?
Organization B invests in software applications and custom reporting that meets their business goals. They recognize that a higher investment upfront pays off in having more reliable data and saving time preparing it.

3. Collaborating on a document:

  • Organization A: Email the document to all 6 collaborators, get disparate emails back from each one with changes, run track changes on each of the 6 documents, compile into 1 document, send back around for final approval, make final changes.  Estimated time: 5 hours.
  • Organization B:  Post the document to SharePoint and email the link. Have the team utilize built-in tools for check-in and check-out and allow them to manage the process until the document is final.  Estimated time: 20 minutes.

The difference?
Organization B has tools, training, and processes around their workflows that optimize for efficiencies.

4. Working in multiple applications:

  • Organization A:  Each staff member has one 19” monitor, capable of displaying one application full screen at a time.  Applications are switched frequently throughout the day.
  • Organization B:  Each staff member has dual, 21” monitors, capable of displaying multiple applications full screen side-by-side.

The difference?
Microsoft Research estimates that adding a second monitor increases productivity between 9 and 50%.  That adds up to a lot of minutes.  Which add up to a lot of hours.  Which adds up to a lot of saved cost and increased productivity!

5. Browsing the web:

  • Organization A:  Bandwidth is minimal, no policies are set around how staff use the Internet, and staff frequently spend work time checking Facebook, cruising the web, or downloading applications and creating even more Internet bottlenecks.
  • Organization B:  Ensures that there is plenty of bandwidth for their usage, sets policies around appropriate use, and ensures that work time is used for work purposes.

The difference?
I think you get the idea.

So how can technology impact efficiencies?

Increased efficiencies are one of the primary benefits to technology.  Communication across great distances is not a new concept. It happened in George Washington’s day by letters on stagecoach and horseback, then began to grow quicker and quicker with the advent of the telegraph, railroad, phones, fax machines, email, Skype, Twitter, etc.

The way that you perceive, invest in, manage, train others in, and implement technology has a direct impact on the efficiencies of your organization.  Wise usage of technology increases efficiencies, which in turn, reduces the cost of productivity. At Mainstay, we are passionate about unlocking increased efficiencies for our clients. We accomplish this through all aspects of our service delivery.

This includes:

  • A highly proactive approach: prevent issues and increase network speeds.
  • Detailed monitoring of all network resources: quickly identify concerns and allow for immediate resolve.
  • Well engineered projects: provide great stability and speed.
  • Extensive preventative measures: alleviate downtime, stop security breaches, and to ensure business continuity.
  • Staff training and resources: keep pace with technology growth for relevant solutions.
  • Consulting and recommendations: suggestion of innovative tools and procedures to optimize business processes.
  • Fast ticket response and resolution times: get client staff working again as quickly as possible.

We encourage all of our clients to take an intentional approach to improving efficiency. Here are 11 steps you can take to unlock efficiencies in your organization:

  1. Make sure your IT partner is aligned with your organizational goals.
  2. Ensure all aspects of your company network are fast to avoid any significant delay.
  3. Replace workstations on a regularly scheduled basis, so equipment is both reliable and well performing.
  4. Devote time for staff training to increase technical skills, software acumen, and productive processes.
  5. Acquire a line of business software that is highly effective, along with training and custom reporting.
  6. Install dual monitors for all staff who simultaneously use multiple applications.
  7. Train staff to lock their computer instead of shutting down each night.
  8. Keep at least one extra computer on hand in case of an emergency.
  9. Ensure a formal process is in place for reviewing security and business continuity.
  10. Get as much bandwidth from your ISP as is feasible.
  11. Conduct an annual, formal review of efficiencies.

Enacting these changes often requires an intentional investment. It can also require a cultural shift –team members need to be willing to learn new ways of doing things and eager to increase productivity by partnering with IT to reduce the time of each task. It’s an investment, but well worth it.

Remember… just 10 minutes a day adds up to over 40 hours a year!