Process Review: Time and Value Calculations

Automation value is pretty simple: If you automate a thing you just saved yourself time on that thing.  Put a dollar amount to the time saved and you figured out the cost of the thing before you automated it.  If that automation is successfully adopted the value gained compounds each time the automation is executed because you are no longer doing that thing.

My journey understanding this began when I came across a XKCD cartoon that illustrated the value of automating a task:

When I first came across this chart it got me thinking about the value that can be obtained by automating certain types of work. At the time, I didn’t fully understand the potential value of automation, but I started practicing it and automating everything I could.  As a systems administrator, I automated tasks such as pulling daily server health statistics, automating server desktop reboots, Windows updates and maintenance cycles, software installations, and software configuration.  If only I could automate fixing printer issues as well.

Over time I cleaned up and update the XKCD chart, as well as, adding a second chart that assigns value to a unit of time  The result gives me a quick and dirty view into the value of any process that I review:

Download the XLSX here.

Automation provides compound interest you gain in the form of time back.

Here is a brief example of this in action:

Smith and Co started sending a bi-weekly newsletter to their clients.  The owners started the newsletter by manually keeping track of a mailing list and manually writing the email each time they sent one out.  This solution tied up one owner an entire writing the newsletter, chasing updates to their address list, and sending it out.

If they kept this up it would end up taking 1040 hours over 5 years (4 hours weekly).

That comes out to $88,400 it costs to operate the newsletter over 5 years if that owner calculated their time cost of $85.00 per hour.

Here are three possible solutions to streamline this process.

A tool like Hubspot

Cheap upfront costs

Easy to use

Automated mailing list management

Requires some setup and integration

You still have to create your content

Reoccurring costs and more expensive as your grow

Automations through your website that aggregate content

Automated newsletter fed off content posted on website

Plugins handle mailing list

Little to no reoccurring fees

Higher upfront costs

Some training required

You still manage the process

Hire a marketing firmTotally hands off creation of newsletter and mailing list

More expensive reoccurring costs

Needs frequent guidance

Any one of these solutions would work for Smith and Co.  They will just have to figure out what works best for them…

Are you thinking about what you could automate?  Have you already determined how much a process is costing you?  Linchpin can help you dive deeper into that process and help you streamline it.  Reach out and lets talk about it today!

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