Measuring cost savings from IBM's Enterprise Tagging Service

IBM's Enterprise Tagging Service social software saves $4.6 million a year

Tagging content in a company's intranet has becoming an increasingly important functionality, although the return on investment has not been clear.  IBM's case study suggests that tagging has already yield some monetary benefit.  Here are the results that IBM reports:

  • "The Enterprise Tagging Service in IBM aims to provide an alternative approach to helping people find information compared to traditional search engines. Search based on keyword analysis often relies on a taxonomy that is rigid due to the way the software performs its structural analysis of web pages, identifying and classifying the keywords. Social tagging allows people to add human semantics to keywords that they define that sometimes can amount to finding a resource faster based on what people think is relevant.

  • IBM's ETS cost $700k to develop and deploy across the worldwide intranet as a sidebar to a number of key web properties: traditional search engine results, top content pages, and web applications like the IBM internal social brainstorming tool, Thinkplace. As a service it can really be added to any internal page. Readers can tag any page with the widget, look up tags they contributed, find others who have used the same tag, and certainly find other relevant resources by that same tag. The ETS tool was based on the Lotus Connections Dogear software.

  • The ETS team instituted a survey to ask users how this tool helped them. What they found was amazing when you look at it in context: the average person saved 12 seconds, across the 286000+ searches performed through ETS each week. This sums up to 955 hours saved each week across the company. In terms of cost savings, it amounts to a rough estimate of $4.6 million a year, in terms of productivity gain. The reusability of this page widget also resulted in $2.4 million in cost avoidance (reimplementing this for each site)".

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