The Costs of Not Implementing an Enterprise Search Solution

Companies are creating new information faster than ever--IDC predicts a 30 fold increase in the amount of digital information available by 2020, and a 60 fold increase in the number of accessible files.

It has become relatively cheap to store vast amounts of information--but are people able to find the correct information when they need it?

As the amount of information increases, so does the challenge of finding specific information when needed.

The findability issue is intensified when the information isn’t just saved in the company’s cloud storage, but across shared drives, company intranets, content management systems, file systems, cloud apps, e-mail servers, and other communication tools like Slack or HipChat.

Finding the right information at the right time is critical for employee productivity and to avoid inefficient work processes that can bleed money from companies.

The correct enterprise search tool can securely search inside a company’s multiple data sources and provide the correct information when it is needed.

Implementing an enterprise search solution costs money upfront, but what are the costs from not implementing an enterprise search solution?

The following stats are referenced from an IDC report written by Susan Feldman and Chris Sherman. You can read the full white paper here.

Cost 1: Loss of productivity

IDC found that knowledge workers spend an average of 8.8 hours per week searching for information. Also, according to an analyst from Butler Group, some employee spend more time than 8.8 hours per week:

“IT suppliers often say that between 20% and 80% of a knowledge worker's time is spent looking for information.”

To put lost productivity into numbers: If the average knowledge worker gets paid $80,000 annually, 8.8 hours per week from a single employee costs the company $14,209 per year.

Now, assuming a given organization employs 1,000 knowledge workers, the annual cost of searching for information costs the company over $14,000,000 per year. 

Cost 2: Duplicated Work

BAE systems (a defense and aeronautics manufacturer) found that 60% of networked employees were unknowingly spending an hour or more per day duplicating the work of someone else in the company.

According to Richard West, a manager at BAE systems:

"We discovered engineers working, in different parts of the country, on precisely the same problem - a wing construction issue - but in very different areas, a military aircraft and an Airbus.”

The numbers: By following the same earlier assumptions of the average knowledge worker salary and number of knowledge workers in a company, duplicated work costs companies $5,000,000 per year.

Other unpredictable costs to an organization Due to the lack of enterprise search:

  • Poor decisions based on the lack of, or faulty information
  • Frustration and job satisfaction of knowledge workers
  • Cost in sales due to the inability to provide information to customers.


Computer Weekly - Enterprise search tools from luxury item to business essential as data builds up

IDC Executive Insights - January 2011

IDC White Paper - The High Cost of Not Finding Information

Tech Target - Definition knowledge worker




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