Blog   »   The real cost of slow e-mail

By administrator Site Admin at 6:20 pm

Cutting corners is becoming a regular practice in all modern businesses today. We formally believe that cutting corners should be absolutely the last resort. Tying loose ends should be every businesses first priority. Sometimes these loose ends are not as easy to notice as we would expect them to be. We are all naturally looking at our financial books to find them, and as we may find some of them there, tying those will not result in dramatic change to our bottom line.

However, low hanging fruit may be elsewhere. We are thinking… taking a closer look at our wristwatch is going to give us a hint of where we’re spending more time than needed. As time is money. We will now try to draw a connecting line between those two – “time” and “money”, and see how proper implementation of information technologies, where they actually more work for us than present another maintenance nightmare – can help us save tons of money and finally present an opportunity for dramatic improvement to our bottom line.

We are not talking about investing your free time, we are actually talking about the time you don’t know you’re losing! Realizing that will help you see the easy opportunity to seize this time, and do with it what you / your business wants.
In today’s day and age where we’re constantly fighting to enlarge our business’ footprint and defeat or at least get the edge over our completion – losing time on anything than bare necessities is becoming a luxury.

Here, we will try to explain something that most businesses are taking absolutely for granted. A process that is not being seen as something that presents an opportunity for great savings, something that is measured in tens, if not in hundreds of thousands of greenbacks – every year!

To simplify the calculus, we will start with a, size-wise, modest small business – of no more than 10 employees. This math easily scales, so if you have more employees and if you can find your business to somewhat match the description of a company we’re presenting here, you can easily calculate the potential savings and an opportunity to invest in something that will save you time and money

Example 1.

Picture 1:

Company B, with 10 employees. System that this organization uses in electronic communication is external/outsourced mail server. Classic example is mail server that are used by lot of different ISP, and public e-mail service also (Hosted solutions - MS Exchange, Hosted Lotus Domino and very few others have shown slightly but not noticeably better results).
The primary driver here is that all e-mails and attachments need to travel via the Internet to the mail server and then back to the e-mail client (Outlook and such) in the office.

In this example, message that one employee sends to the other (or to more employees / distribution lists simultaneously), first travel to the router inside of the company. If there are multiple recipients on the distribution (like there are, most of the time) are being considered as separate (even though they may be in the same company), and one e-mail sent to 10 recipients is actually processed as 10 e-mails with a single recipient. For all this, bandwidth is used, time is spent…

After this step, (every) e-mail leaves the router, it travels via the Internet to a hosted server somewhere in the “cloud” – a resource often shared between many companies simultaneously. Majority of these servers are shared by dozens, or by hundreds of clients, and because of that they simply cannot be as responsive as a local e-mail server.

From this external server, over the Internet, e-mail is coming back to the router in the company. After this step, e-mail reaches the recipient, or recipients. This action is called “pull”, as e-mail clients on users’ desks are responsible for “asking the server” for any new e-mail. Let’s say there’s 10 of these recipients, and every e-mail is 3Mb in size… that’s 30 megs to be downloaded from a remote server. Syncing this effort between multiple systems is simply not possible by design.

During this process, losing messages is sometimes the case, which in turn causes loss of continuity of answering the latest message in timely manner, and often this process creates more issues than it helps solve. You are all familiar with this process… that’s when you say “OK, we need to have a meeting and a white board”.

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Picture 2:

Employee 1 sends a message to employees 2,3 & 4


E-mail delivery time from employee 1 to (all of the) 2,3 i 4 – averages 10-15min. In a perfect world, we’d have to wait ‘till all employees on the distribution – receive this e-mail in question so they can comment on it. And once they start replying… that’s where this gets messy beyond any possibility to document this process and total time lost


Again, we’re looking at a similar company, Avg. # of important e-mails during avg. work day, by the same token is 6-8. This is a bare minimum, as we are certain your business has a real need for thought and opinion exchange more than 6 to 8 times per day. Sure, you can all meet regularly, but at the same time, if you can do all this work from your chair or even your home – that’s an opportunity to be seized, you’ll agree


Here we are considering e-mails that require a group decision, several responses by the group  – in order to finalize the product or idea


Time spent for a single e-mail delivery per employee per one working day, based on this example, is 30-80 min, financial impact of this e-mail slowness per employee is $20-$53  (based on avg.income in management department 80K, $/py)


Time spent for e-mail delivery per company per one working day is 5-13 hrs, financial impact for this is $200-$530


Fin. Impact per company per month is $4 K-$11 K


Fin. Impact per employee per year is $5 K-$14 K


Overall annual fin. Impact of slow mail is $54 K-$143 K.

Copy_of_e_mali_delivery_cost


Values presented here represent time needed to simply deliver e-mail to all employees in the office / employees connected via Virtual Private Networking (VPN). Final numbers are results obtained on a sample where documents are attached to the e-mail in question. Attachment size was on avg. 3Mb file. Actual results may vary, especially in cases where we’re dealing with larger attachments.

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Example 2.

Picture 3:

Company A, we’ve built this example on a small business office with 10 employees. E-mail system this organization uses for electronic communication is a local mail server (for example - MS Exchange or Lotus Domino).

When communicating with one another using a local e-mail server, message that one employee sends to another or to a few of them, travel to the server which is located internally, using the modern networks (including wireless ones) processing them literally in milliseconds. These messages are then being delivered to local users in a matter of seconds.

After this process takes place, without leaving the company's network, message is recevied by recipient - one or few. This way, messages are delivered in record speed, without the need to rely on internet access - and we all know that Internet lines are, however fast they are – still several times slower than local networks, we share them with our Internet neighbors and sometimes these networks are really slow… just because they're slow.

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Picture 4:

Employee 1 sends a message to employees 2,3 & 4


E-mail delivery time from employee 1 to 2,3 i 4 - averages 3sec


Avg. # of important e-mails during working day, as an example, is, let’s say 6-8. This is a bare minimum, as we are certain your business has a real need for thought and opinion exchange more than 6 to 8 times per day. Sure, you can all meet regularly, but at the same time, if you can do all this work from your chair or even your home – that’s an opportunity to be seized, you’ll agree


Here we are considering e-mails that require a group decision, several responses by the group  – in order to finalize the product or idea


Time spent for a single e-mail delivery per employee per one working day, based on this example, is 18-24 sec, financial impact of this e-mail slowness per employee is 20-30₵ (based on avg.income in management department 80K, $/py)


Time spent for e-mail delivery per company per one working day is 3-4 min, financial impact for this process is $2-$3


Fin. Impact per company per month is $40-$60


Fin. Impact per employee per year is $54-$80


Overall annual fin. Impact of simple mail delivery is $540-$800

Copy_of_e_mali_delivery_costINT


Values presented here represent time needed to simply deliver e-mail to all employees in the office / employees connected via Virtual Private Networking (VPN). Final numbers are results obtained on a sample where documents are attached to the e-mail in question. Attachment size was on avg. 3Mb file. Actual results may vary, especially in cases where we’re dealing with larger attachments.

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These findings were made with assumptions discussed above. The sole purpose of this exercise is to familiarize small business owners with the issue that often goes overlooked for years. While looking for opportunities to save money, sometimes saving time is of equal or greater value, especially during busy and demanding periods of year.
Very few of us realize the savings that are possible by simply upgrading your e-mail server / solution, but while these numbers seem unreasonably high – please look at the math provided above and compare the two scenarios. You may realize that your own company is spending unnecessarily, repeatedly and on a daily basis, you may avoid hiring another resource in the office – as you’ll save an average of 2FTEs simply by speeding up your e-mail delivery. 

If you appreciate your resources, your bottom line and your financials, you are in the position to stop spending unnecessary funds on something, frankly – as trivial as an internal mail server. Feel free to contact us or any other reliable service provider for a free consultation without any obligations.