Quick example of individual productivity gains/savings based on “digital thinking”

Using the ideas from my last post I worked this up as a quick example of how changing the way you do things to take advantage of the capabilities of IT (hereafter referred to as digital thinking) can save you money (or at least productivity):

Using MS Powerpoint in an analog** way to build presentations is very time consuming. You build each slide from scratch, or you copy an old presentation and go through and replace the information, hoping it all fits, etc. You may change a font here or there, have to move a text box because the size isn’t quite the same as it was before. A lot of time wasted worrying about formatting the data. A very conservative estimate for the amount of time spent on formatting is ten minutes per presentation.

Using Powerpoint in a digital way (that is, how it was intended to be used), you have a slide master that takes care of all the formatting for you. You simply hit Ctrl+M to create a new slide and start filling in the blanks. The spacing is correct, the fonts are correct, the colors are correct.

Now imagine you have an organization where 15 presentations are created/edited, on average, every day. Using Powerpoint in an analog way results in a significant productivity loss:

(10 minutes/presentation) – unnecessary time spent on formatting

*(15 presentations/day)

*(250 days/year) – obviously work days, not calendar days

*(30 dollars/hour) – need to consider loaded rate, not just salary, this is obviously a WAG

*(1 hour/60 minutes) – to get all the units to work out


$18,750 / year

Nearly 20 grand a year spent for people to tweak fonts and box sizes instead of adding true value to the content of the presentation. (Again, these numbers are very conservative, actual productivity loss because of this is probably much, much worse.)

– – — — —– ——–

** By analog, here I mean using PowerPoint as a collection of pages, each of which must be individually formatted and prepared, similar to the old way of laying out and preparing overhead transparencies. Before you say to yourself, “No one does that anymore,” consider that just yesterday I sat through a presentation given using transparencies and an overhead projector, with slides that were very recently created, obviously slide by slide.


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