Saving Time (and Money) With Office 365 Part 2

By Jeff Lanham| November 25, 2015

How Much Time Can We Save with Office 365?

In my last blog article, Saving Time (and Money) With Office 365 Part 1, I laid some groundwork for reasonably guesstimating how much time we might potentially save the typical information worker by leveraging the content management, collaboration and communications capabilities that Microsoft's Office 365 Enterprise suite provides. Now, let's try to put some numbers to the estimated amount of time that might be saved on the types of tasks that our fictitious typical information worker does each day:


Task Time Saved Per Iteration Iterations Per Day Total Time Per Day
Searching For A Document 2 5 10
Document Edit / Review / Approve 3 1 3
Starting A New Doc From Template 1 2 2
Participating In A Group Process 1 3 3
Managing Group Process 2 1 2
Asking A Question / Ad-Hoc Conversation 2 5 10

The Task items in each row represent various types of activities. Time Saved Per Iteration is a measure of how many minutes a person might save each time they do one of the tasks. The Iterations Per Day notes how many times in a given day the typical information worker might do the task. Multiplying the two numbers results in Total Time Per Day saved, in minutes, per person.

This is intended to be a somewhat conservative estimate. Over the years I've seen a number of research studies and articles that have attempted to quantify the time savings that can be realized with Enterprise Content Management systems in general, and Microsoft SharePoint in particular. There have been some fairly ridiculous claims, ranging up to several hours per day. I'm skeptical that it's really possible to save that much time, but having seen many typical information worker scenarios in the real world, I think it's reasonable to suggest that 30 minutes per day could be saved via smart usage of the tools and capabilities in Office 365. Further, a potential range of 15 - 60 minutes per day seems like a useful guesstimate of time savings that could potentially be realized across many types of scenarios and businesses, so we’ll use those values for our calculations.

What is the Value of Time?

Determining the monetary value of time is also somewhat tricky, given the wide range of salaries, benefits packages and other types of compensation that the typical information worker might enjoy. We need to simplify again, so let's consider the following snippet from the Employer Costs for Employee Compensation - June 2015 report from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Costs for Employee Compensation Labor Bureau of Stats

Compensation Component Occupational Group
All Workers Management, Professional & Related Sales & Office Service
Cost Percent Cost Percent Cost Percent Cost Percent
Total Compensation $33.19 100 $55.22 100 $24.42 100 $17.12 100
Wages & Salaries 22.72 68.5 37.68 68.2 17.16 70.3 12.18 71.1
Total Benefits 10.47 31.5 17.54 31.8 7.26 29.7 4.95 28.9

This says that the total compensation for all workers is $33.19 per hour. Since our typical information worker doesn't really include service workers, but would include mostly sales and office workers and probably some people from the management, professional and related group, it seems reasonable to use the all workers rate for our guesstimate of the value of time.

Total Monetary Savings of Office 365

The last variable to account for is the number of typical information workers in an organization. Since organizations of many different sizes are considering taking The Leap to the cloud, let's see how the total time and money savings varies by number of employees (based on 2000 working hours per year):

hours saved with Office 365

This would seem to suggest that potentially substantial savings could be realized from saving time in many little ways every day for our typical information workers. Of course, it is up to you to judge the validity of these calculations, based on the assumptions and simplifications that have been made, in the context of your own organization. It is also worth reiterating that there are other ways that Office 365 might be able to save you money, including reduced licensing costs, less (or no) in-house technology infrastructure to purchase, management and support, etc.


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