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What a Portal Is Worth to You

April 29, 2002
Related Topics: Intranets/Extranets, Featured Article

It’s never been easy for HR to get money for its technology programs. With this article, and the accompanying worksheet, it should be easier for you to make the business case for an employee portal.

Portals are basically online gateways for your managers and employees to handle -- depending on the company -- everything from benefit enrollment to 401(k) services to salary planning.

In a recent study done for PeopleSoft, Cedar identified the following potential savings from implementing PeopleSoft’s Enterprise Portal, focused on employee solutions, for a hypothetical organization with 10,000 employees. PeopleSoft is used just as an example; other vendors offer comparable solutions that also provide significant savings.

This hypothetical organization will be able to:

  • Increase personal productivity 15 hours per year per employee and 30 hours per year per manager. This time is the accumulated total of small-time savings that occur every time employees or managers can sign on to a portal that then gives them application access, rather than having to sign on to every application separately to do jobs such as entering their time, accessing benefit services, or signing up for training.

    These 15 or 30 hours also include:

    1. time saved every time employees or managers access e-mail, update their calendars, check the company directory or event calendar, or get on to a core business application such as a purchasing or financial system.

    2. time saved every time an employee searches for product information or company policies.

    3. time saved every time an employee or manager submits or checks the status of a purchase order, books travel, or submits an expense account. All of these activities, instead of being delivered to an employee via separate applications, each of which must be accessed through a unique sign-on, now are delivered through a single sign-on. The time saved also comes from the benefit of a more intuitive user interface, simplified and consistent navigation across all applications, and a search capability that works across all available corporate information content and applications.

      The time saved further comes from the fact that these services are delivered to employees according to their roles (employee, manager, or sales executive within the western region, for example) and rules that enable the organization to deliver just what each person needs (for example, all managers are to complete performance evaluations by April 15).

  • Eliminate approximately 12 administrative staff. In an organization with 10,000 employees, 17 percent of these are administrative staff. If the organization commits to job redesign, the 15 hours of saved time can actually translate into the reduced need for 12 administrative employees and a hard-dollar savings of their salaries.

  • Reduce time needed to maintain Web-based content by up to 80 percent. With easy-to-use portals, subject-matter experts can maintain Web content without having to involve a Web developer. This can translate into reduced need for developers with expertise in HTML and Java.

  • Cut the time and effort needed to deploy Web-enabled applications by up to 55 percent. Up to 12 hours can be saved on the deployment of each simple application such as an address-change transaction under a portal. As much as 240 hours can be saved for a more intricate application with complex work flow and approvals. This translates into less need for application developers.

  • Reduce new-hire setup time by 54 percent. The portal streamlines the process of notifying desktop support and network administrators of a new hire. Newly hired employees will not have to set up separate passwords and log-ins for each application. We estimate an average 1.5-hour savings per new hire.

  • Completely eliminate the need to manually administer job and profile changes for users. Without a portal, any change to a user’s profile upon a job change such as a promotion must be manually made by desktop support and network administrators to keep the user’s system, applications, and network access current. With the portal, a manager simply records the promotion via a self-service transaction, and the user’s access rights are changed to the new role automatically.

  • Save approximately $165,000 on costs associated with paper. This includes reducing printing and storage costs, and instead delivering printed material through the portal.

  • Lower help-desk volume by 20 percent. Prior to implementing a portal, an organization generally experiences a minimum of two help-desk calls per employee per year for forgotten passwords. At $25 apiece to administer, in an organization with 10,000 employees, this means that 20 percent of the 20,000 calls are eliminated, for a savings of $100,000.

You can also calculate your own return on investment. This calculation depends on the number of employees for whom savings will be tallied, the percentage of employees who have Internet/intranet access, and the costs of the technology. These costs include software license and maintenance, installation, training, and implementation services, as well as business-process redesign and change management.

Workforce Online, May 2002 -- Register Now!


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