Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How does your enterprise spend its time?

Linkedin blogs contain interesting thought pieces.  Three recent posts caught my attention – they talk about how to cut down/eliminate unnecessary meetings:

Jeff Weiner (CEO LinkedIn) notes his managers complain about managing their inbox and their meeting schedules in his post: A Simple Rule to Eliminate Useless Meetings, and The Importance of Scheduling Nothing.

Rajat Taneja (CTO, Electronic Arts) wants to Cut Down on Unnecessary Meetings.

I found Rajat Taneja's post most interesting.  He talks about understanding "how we spend our time," and then he tracked how he spent his time.  We think the act of measurement is a critical component that will drive the CEO to force the organization to change the meeting behavior.

Both of these are geared towards the meeting organizer, that is, changing individual behavior.  But both of these being high level executives, the more interesting question they do NOT pose is: can we get a handle on how the enterprise is spending its time?  Are we being efficient or not?  And can we read this out of Microsoft Exchange?

Having been looking at scheduling metrics off and on over the years we've been trying to figure out how to interrogate the Exchange server to derive useful metrics on this for analysis on the organization / enterprise level.

It's easy to use server-side tools to get a handle and do reports on how much email traffic is generated and disk space is in use.  Email analysis has relatively little dependence or significance on job title or function.

But calendars are precisely the opposite!

As a Tech CEO you usually want your engineering staff working on engineering problems and not in any more meetings than they need to be.  But your sales people need to be meeting with clients or they're not doing their job.  In between there's a wide gulf as much dependent on individual corporate culture and goals as on anything taught in a management course at Business School.
We took a cut at that measurement, in our recent Oracle Beehive migration tool.  See "The Oracle Beehive Calendar Metrics" post for a screen shot of the metrics.  Those of you who have been through migrations with us have seen similar reports on your legacy data.
We've learned over years of analyzing data that the top ten meeting users is sometimes a surprising revelation to corporate management -- usually when they find that one of their top users is a conference room.

And this actually is where we made what we think of as our first big break through: that the inanimate objects in the corporation have a lot more importance than you would first think.  

In fact -- since the only major issue with them is "how much are they in use?" it's relatively straight-forward to do reporting on them and we've already sliced that a few different ways for people.

We'll show sample reports in a follow-on post.

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