Measuring the heartbeat of Rapid Circle with BI tools

Wouldn’t it be interesting to measure certain ‘online behavior’ that says something about work style, culture, effectiveness and collaboration within an organisation? In order to visualize this weve developed a tool that 1) offers our customers a tool to make (the progress of) change management tangible and 2) demonstrates the added value (ROI) of ICT innovations (like an Office 365 platform). We developed this tool - Organisational Pulse - especially for bigger organisations, but we were also very curious to take the temperature of our own organisation! Despite the fact that we, as a relatively small organisation (with 90 employees), already had a pretty clear image of the way we collaborate and do our jobs, it gave us some interesting and useful insights. We’d like to share these insights with you in this blog.

We also summarized these insights in a infographic. Click HERE for the infographic with our measurements and interpretation.

We can measure the behavior of employees with Organisation Pulse in a way that wasn’t possible before. For example: how often do employees copy their manager in an email, how many recurring meetings does someone have and how often do they send emails during those meetings, how many people on average are added to the ‘To’, ‘Cc’ and ‘Bcc’, and so much more. These are just a few examples of data that can tell a lot about the work style and culture in an organisation. If you want to change these, this tool is your guide to keep track of your progress.

Culture

At Rapid Circle we only add our direct manager as a recipient to only 3% of the emails we send. You could cautiously conclude that we do not try to justify our selves as much, or as you could also say it, we don’t try to ‘cover our asses’. We do see that one of our ‘departments’ copies the manager much more in emails than other departments. Furthermore, we see that with an average of 2,4 recipients added per mail, we don’t have the need to email a lot of people at the same time.

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We hardly ever use of the Cc or Bcc function. Based on this we could assume that the political pressure in our organisation is very low. We don’t see the added value of copying a lot of colleagues in emails. It doesn’t take much time to add people to an email, but think of the relevance and efficiency if it takes every recipient three minutes to read it. We think this is the most polluting behavior there is in bigger organisations.

On average we spend 2.76 (of the 40) hours per week at Rapid Circle on structural (mostly weekly) meetings. We also spend 1.47 hours per week on average on non-structural, but planned, meetings. In total, we only spend 4.23 hours per week on meetings. These numbers prove Rapid Circle doesn’t have a culture in which meetings hold a prominent place.

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We expect that for many of our customers these statistics will reveal a lot of interesting, but also confronting information. What will they do with it? To answer this question, we’ll have to wait until this data is available. However, it will be in any way very interesting to dig into for organisation specialists.

Collaboration

There is a lot of cross-silo collaboration within Rapid Circle. We already expected this, because we don’t really have ‘departments’, but instead we have competence groups and a flat organisation. For this analysis we sorted all our employees based on competence, mark that our (project)teams are mainly multidisciplinary. In this regard, it’s logical that we score 65% on cross-silo collaboration. This means that 65% of all the documents we share, emails we send and meetings we have, are all shared with colleagues outside of our ‘department’. Also, our usage of Skype for Business is very high. Interesting, but also very logical, because worldwide we have three offices (Pune (India), Melbourne and Amsterdam) and our work is not dependent on a location; we work a lot from home, at customers and on the road.

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Effectiveness of our own work

Rapid Circle is a customer oriented organisation. Almost everything we do, like our support, projects, adoption and workshops, we do for our customers. You would expect that more than 50% of our emails are send to at least one external recipient. It appears to be only 48%. Are we too internally focussed? We should investigate that more. On the other hand, if I compare this with the statistics from our customers, 48% is pretty high. Can we conclude that in big organisations in the Netherlands, we just keep each other busy?

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As said before, we don’t spend a lot of time in recurring meetings. This seems to reveal a certain level of effectiveness. during only 14% of all of our meetings one or more email was sent by one or more people present (or should be present) in that meeting. This also tells us something about our effectiveness. We seem to be focused on the ongoing meeting, instead of other things.

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Also interesting are the costs of reading emails. What does this really cost us? We measure this based on the amount of characters in the text (excluding the text upon which an answer is sent), times a constant that indicates how long someone needs to read a X amount of characters, times the amount of recipients. After this, we add up all the emails (per month) and multiply the result with €35,- per hour. At Rapid Circle this sums up, with 90 employees, to an amount of €50.860,- per month. Via a different formula we end up with a allocation of approximately 45 minutes per day per person, if everybody reads all of their emails. In our information-intensive organisation, that’s not much. Besides, added up we send 23.000 emails per month.

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It is our experience that this number is much higher at large organisations. We have seen organisations who receive more than 4 hours worth of emails per day.

Work style

At Rapid Circle, trust and responsibility are important values. We don’t impose working hours and people can work wherever they want. This might lead to the expectation that people work in the weekends as well. However, only 2% of all our emails are sent during the weekend. That’s not much. As an owner of the company you could perceive this in two ways. I choose to interpret it as follows: we do a very good job, because you can see that people can manage their work just fine during the week.

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What’s also interesting are the numbers that indicate what guides our people in their daily work. Are they guided by their inbox or by their own priorities? On average, at Rapid Circle, people are busy sending emails almost 10 quarters a day. During an 8-hour working day, that could be 32. It seems to be that we do not let our inbox guide our workday. Again, we score lower than other organisations, but it is still 10 quarters on average. If you compare that to the amount of emails we receive and how little meetings we have, it is more than that I hoped for.

And again the question is, what do you want to do about it? Delve Analytics, a tool developed to have more insight in your own work style, might be a solution for us. If we cumulate the big data numbers and the individual statistics from Delve employees can become more aware of an effective work style. This only works if we explain it right and if the management team gives the right example though. At Rapid Circle, magement could do better though, because on a daily basis we check our inbox during 26 quarters of the 32 per day.  That means that from just about the moment we get up in the morning till the moment we go to bed, we send an email almost every 15 minutes. I find that shocking. Or is it okay for us? I’d like to hear other people’s opinion.

Moreover, the same statistics indicate that the support team is led by their inbox only 8 quarters per day. Apparently they use other (the right?) tools for messaging within our support system.

Furthermore, we can measure a lot more little things. Things that don’t necessarily say something about work style in general, but about certain behaviors that can be influenced. For example, we only share 17% of the information we share via the cloud (from OneDrive or SharePoint or with a link to the document). So, we still send a lot of attachments via email. We should be ashamed of ourselves as a Microsoft Cloud partner. Okay, we already do a lot better than other organisations, but this number must increase. How? At least by management giving the right example, because, shame on us, that group just scores a sad 8%. The technical team does already way better, with 45% of the attachments sent through the cloud.

Overview IG Organisational Pulse English
Overview IG Organisational Pulse English

Other things we can measure

The statistics displayed here are only a small part of all the statistics we can generate. These other statistics can offer even more insight in culture, usage, costs and added value. For example, the value of knowledge, of documents, which departments are contributing the most to the (re)use of knowledge, to meetings starting and ending late or on time.

Every organisation will interpret and use the statistics in a different way. We also see that what one organisation finds interesting might not be interesting or can even be seen as the pointer of progression of change for another. The dashboard will be different for everybody. Luckily our application is like a Big Data Analytics tool. We can create new charts real quick via Power BI.

Conclusion

The conclusion I draw regarding our own statistics is that on the one hand Organisational Pulse has the most value for especially bigger organisations. On the other hand, these numbers provided a couple interesting insights. For example, the statistics about the usage of cloud services. We use all the functionalities, but not always to the max. What does that tell us about adoption roadmaps at our customers? Changing behavior is really hard. We’re also going to act on setting an example as the leadership team, including myself.

The purpose of applying this tool to our own organisation was mainly to give us a better feeling about how to interpret the data. We can also state that creating a benchmark with more data from customers will be very interesting. This way we can measure how organisations do, compared to the average of a few other (big) organisations.

Would you like to know more? Read more, download the infographic or contact Wilco Turnhout.