In my last blog article I discussed the impact of web page load time on page abandonment rate and the resulting impact on ecommerce.
Now I’m going to focus on the IT department’s internal customers, i.e. the employees of the organisation.
Just Standing Around
Q: What’s the difference between a jazz musician and a large pizza?
A: A large pizza can feed a family of four.
Actually I used to be a full-time jazz musician, playing double bass, and a good friend of mine is a jazz drummer with a family of five. He and his wife are managing to feed everybody, but we have this running joke where he asks me if he can get a job in my company just standing around, since he’s not qualified to do any IT work.
In fact I’m often amused when I drive past roadworks because there are usually between two and ten men who to all intents and purposes seem to be employed to do precisely that, i.e. standing around.
What does this have to do with my beloved topic of Application Performance Management (APM)?
Have no fear, gentle reader, I haven’t lost my mind. Or maybe I have, but that doesn’t mean I’m aimlessly babbling. Although I might be. OK enough standing around, let’s talk about APM!
Watch the Hourglass
Consider this: every second that you spend staring at the hourglass on the screen, or waiting for the page to load, is the knowledge worker’s equivalent of being paid to stand around.
In this post we’re going to do some simple but boring sums to establish some hard numbers around application response time and productivity. The basic approach is going to be to consider how much time is spent waiting for the application to respond, for all users across the enterprise, and then calculate how much that lost productivity might cost for an example enterprise.
As we’ll see in some future posts (assuming that I don’t have any unscheduled disagreements with heavy vehicles due to hazardous roadworks without enough people standing around), this lost productivity is just the tip of the iceberg.
But it’s a good place to start.
First, Some Assumptions
OK, so “assume” makes an ass out of u and me, but I was already an ass and probably you were too, so we should be safe. Let’s consider a fictitious company called SlowCorp, and make the following assumptions:
- SlowCorp has 10,000 employees
- Average salary for employees at SlowCorp is $50,000
- It costs the organisation another 40% on top of salaries in terms of superannuation, supervision, facilities, IT, corporate services etc. So employee cost is now $70,000
- Each user interacts with a corporate application on average once per hour. In reality this number would obviously vary wildly depending on the user’s role, for example those who work in call centres may interact 10 times per minute, but once per hour represents a very conservative estimate.
- Average response time for a user transaction when interacting with a corporate application is 10 seconds
Stand back, it’s time for some calculations
Based on these assumptions, it’s a doddle to calculate that lost productivity is on average 10 seconds per hour, 3,600 seconds per hour so we lose 10/3600 = 0.28% of each working hour, every working hour, for every employee.
For SlowCorp, an organisation of 10,000 employees, that translates to an equivalent full-time strike force of 28 highly qualified, motivated and focussed employees whose sole mission is to stare blankly at computer screens . Based on the average salary at SlowCorp, that adds up to $1.96 million of staff effort entirely devoted to. Doing. Nothing.
And that, my friends, is a lot of standing around.
How many employees work in your organisation? Based on your own estimates of IT transactions per hour and average response times, how big is your Standing Around Road Crew?
Image courtesy of Flying Tortoise.