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Jul 27

Labour Saving Devices

Very occasionally an IT project will be producing something totally new and innovative which hasn’t existed before. But the vast majority of IT change is all about improving business efficiency. The business case for the projects will have the costs of the projects which are offset by the benefits of reducing costs – most of which will be likely to be salaries.

In the new world economics you will need to go back and reassess any savings and benefits because there are some fundamental changes and major discontinuities in the economics that have come in to play.

In the old world order:

  • your business volumes were growing at a healthy rate of, perhaps, ten percent. So your project efficiency gains will easily pay for the project costs. You simply don’t have to recruit extra people to support the extra volume. You also save the additional HR costs including the recruitment fees and training costs.
  • If you have very dramatic performance improvements then the headcount savings can be increased by normal staff turnover. When someone leaves you don’t replace them. Again you save on the cost of on-boarding new staff.

Now the whole balance changes:

  • As general unemployment increases then staff turnover suddenly stops. No-one will give up a job with several years of accumulated benefits for the uncertainties of a new job with the risk of “first in – first out”. The goodwill of employees for a projects objectives will, not surprisingly, evaporate as benefits become threats to their personal livelihood.
  • Any saving in employee costs completely change if the company has to make compulsory redundancies, with the costs and compensation that have to be made. These may well come on top of other redundancies that the organisation has hade to make because of drops in business volumes.
  • And leaving the sensitive subject of job cuts – do the ecomomics of your project still stand if business volumes have dropped by ten percent?

I hate to see irony in such a black situation, where real people’s livelihoods are at stake. Believe me: I’ve been there myself. But it is “funny” that as the need to make efficiency savings increases then it actually becomes harder to make those savings.

Permanent link to this article: http://transformingfinance.eu/labour-saving-devices/