A study by IDC concludes, according to Info. Mgt. J., Vol. 42, Jan./Feb. 2008 at 14, that “a company with 1,000 information workers can expect to lose more than $5 million in annual salary costs because of time spent on unproductive e-mail searches.” Does that loss scale downward, so that a law department with 100 knowledge workers – nee lawyer and paralegals – dissipates $500,000 a year in salary costs (but more in fully-loaded costs) because those workers can’t find e-mails or can’t find them efficiently?
The ability to retrieve email messages hinges on such factors as how clearly people explain the subject of the message, how well they separate ideas into multiple messages, the norms of copying people on messages, the search software available, backup procedures, individual practices when people file messages, and much more (See my post of Nov. 28, 2007: email productivity and references cited.).