The Business Case for Enterprise Social Bookmarking: $4.6 Million a Year in Cost Savings!

10 thoughts on “The Business Case for Enterprise Social Bookmarking: $4.6 Million a Year in Cost Savings!”

    1. Hi William! Thanks a lot for the feedback comments and for dropping by! I am really glad you have mentioned Jumper 2.0, because it surely is a great success story for those who remain behind going strong and still alive and kicking with some rather healthy status!

      It surely helps portrait how important and critical it is to have some of these enterprise social bookmarking tools available out there to demonstrate that true potential for our knowledge workers to help us manage, somehow, some of our personal knowledge sharing flows!

      Thanks for that! 🙂

    1. Hello James! Thanks a lot for the feedback comments and for putting together such a comprehensive follow-up blog post to the one that I have put together whether you have questioned the validity of those numbers put together. Very insightful and very happy to engage on the discussion as well.

      Rawn’s blog post is by no means the original resource of where the study comes from. It’s actually been blogged and talked about extensively in the past from various other resources (Go here, here, here, here, here, here and over here, amongst several other places…).

      The original resource is actually an article at CIO 100, under the heading 2008 Winner Profile – IBM, where you will see the details being shared based on that selection criteria and what the award was granted for, based on that piece of IBM Research, which is where the original piece comes from.

      I have dug out our internal resources and I have also tracked down the original resource, which comes to explain the numbers with this criteria:

      Cost savings: Using an average hourly rate per employee of US$100/hr, ETS saves IBM US$95,528 each week. Assuming 40 hours per week and 48 weeks per year, ETS brings IBM US$4.6 million in potential productivity gain alone”

      And there are some additional costs savings that were calculated as well, if you would want to find out more on them.

      Now, I am not sure whether the results have been bloated or not, as you mentioned, and I do seriously hope they haven’t, but if those results were part of the selection criteria for that CIO 100 award I doubt they are “fake”, as they didn’t get questioned for their validity over 2 years ago when they first came out. But either way, very good exercise to challenge them, so I would get a chance to dig further on the actual research and survey results shared and, hopefully, with them we have been able to add some more clarity to the data mentioned on my blog post.

      Again, thanks for the great write-up and look forward to further interactions! 🙂

  1. This post really resonates with me, because it discusses a challenge I’ve been figuring out how to address for the Social Media in Organizations (SMinOrgs) Community. I’ve wanted to create a permanent repository of blog posts, news articles, white papers, etc. so that members can go back and find specific items of interest. I could establish an SMinOrgs presence on a site like Delicious or DIGG, but that’s one more account our members would have to create – and since most of them are rookies, that’s unlikely to happen. Before reading this post, I had settled on leveraging the SMinOrgs S.M.A.R.T. Blog to summarize items posted in the LI group, and to use the tagging feature to help make specific articles easy to find.

    In our case, cost savings isn’t the issue, but adding value and increasing ease of use and access to info certainly are important drivers. It’s an experiment, but it’s one worth trying.

  2. I’m a bit with James on this one. How is saving time little bits of time here and there equivalent to real bottom line impact? It’s the old ROI problem over and over again, isn’t it?

    The thing is, unless people are fired (unlikely) or they complete more work – or bring it in faster – I am not sure this $4.6 MM actually ends up on the bottom line for IBM’s stockholders.

    I do note that there was a cost avoidance of over $2 MM, which is a nice thing to mention.

    1. The ROI debate seems to be missing the big picture. ROI can be a numbers game, how big is your capital outlay for a project? What is the required rate of return?

      Jumper 2.0 has grown so rapidly because it meets a need. One of the greatest challenges facing people who use large information spaces is to remember and retrieve items that they have previously found and thought to be interesting.

      The fact that Jumper 2.0 is a completely free tool to use and very easy to install minimizes the ROI debate we would otherwise face. It has allowed our tool to grow from the bottom-up, driven by user need, not management decision and direction (or lack their of).

  3. Hi Luis,

    I already contacted you regarding this weblog post via Twitter. But as 140 characters are a bit limited I thought – as project coordinator of the Focuss.Info Initiative ( – it could also be good to elaborate more on it.

    This Initiative aims to improve knowledge sharing and access to information, a fundamental human right that strengthens democracy, by promoting the latest information sharing and collaboration technologies in the field of global development aid.

    Focuss encourages peers to start using social bookmarking. The main reason why peers should start with social bookmarking is not that they should do it for the benefit of Focuss. Focuss encourages peers to start with social bookmarking as a way to work more efficient for themselves, because if peers are social bookmarking, they can then always access their favorite websites, as long as they have a computer connected to the Internet.

    Focuss also encourages social bookmarking because this information sharing and collaboration tool makes it possible to work more effectively in the domain of global development cooperation because personal knowledge can be fed into collective knowledge base. And Focuss is becoming such a collective knowledge base, because by indexing the social bookmark accounts of peers, it is making the hand-picked resources accessible, and therefore enhance the exchange of information and knowledge. This is the reason why the Focuss Initiative passes on structural knowledge regarding social bookmarking to its peers.

    You can read more about it by visiting the following links (this is a presentation I gave for the KM section of IFLA):

    Part 1: Why should we roll-out global KM Initiatives

    Part 2: How should we roll-out global KM initiatives?

    Part 3: A case study of a global sharing Initiative

  4. This is a very important topic.

    @jackvinson has a point.

    In this case the time saved in search is not going to be aggregated and then used as a basis to change some people from full-time to part-time…this indeed would be a cost saving that would change the bottomline.

    Are people going to be given tasks in quicker intervals, as it’s now assumed they can do more within the same time…perhaps a tagging system, along with many other aspects can aggregate to have this effect.

    I do agree that a good find in the tag system may help me to generate a particular task quicker as the article I found has done alot of the groundwork. But how “frequent” is this going to happen to scale into visible changes to the bottomline ie. more revenue in the same time.

    If you took away the phone, email or even microblogging, we would work much slower, which would effect the bottom line…but if we took away tags, I don’t think it would have the same impact.

    I agree it’s all good stuff, tags are great, but I don’t think measuring only describes its value so far…there’s something about measuring this type of thing that I can’t visualise or feel…

    What I have said above is saving time based on the quality of what you find (KM re-use), rather than the “12” second thing.

    I might save 346 seconds this week (via tag searching) but then spend 20 minutes having a chat to someone on the way to the photocopier about their weekend. Each day is different in how time is spent.

    Even if the 20 minute chat was about work and as a result was going to help me execute my task quicker; this isn’t going to be an ROI thing…it happens too randomly.
    But we could amplify this serendipity and opportunities for conversations using online social networks. Then perhaps we are no longer having accidental random collisions, but having them so frequently that we are indeed getting more work done in the same time. Multiply this by all employees and perhaps it will show in the bottom-line.

    I have a summary here

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