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Do workers still waste time searching for information?

The short answer is yes. Organizations do still waste valuable time every day due to broken processes. No matter the cause, the amount of time wasted in futile searching for vital information is enormous, leading to staggering costs to the enterprise. 

In this article, we would like to take an analytical approach, by reading through some statistics, to:

1. Understand how big is the problem,

2. Quantify the impact for the organizations, in terms of costs and not only, and

3. Provide a scalable solution.

1. How big is the problem?

Six years ago, in 2012,  McKinsey reported that “employees spend 1.8 hours every day—9.3 hours per week, on average—searching and gathering information. Put another way, businesses hire 5 employees but only 4 shows up to work; the fifth is off searching for answers, but not contributing any value.”

According to Interact Source, 19.8 % of the business time – the equivalent of one day per working week – is wasted by employees searching for information to do their job effectively.

IDC data shows that “the knowledge worker spends about 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30% of the workday, searching for information.

Much of the time, workers still can’t find the information needed to do their best work quickly. Information spread across email, chat, slide decks, docs, and spreadsheets is disconnected and isolated from the work that needs to be done. This often leads to data that’s inaccessible and out of date.

waste time searching for information

In 2018, in the Definitive Guide to America’s Most Broken Processes, Nintex has conducted a survey, of 1,000 U.S. full-time employees across industries and departments. 39% of the people interviewed observed broken document management/sales processes within their organization. In particular:

  • 49% said they have trouble locating documents
  • 43% have trouble with document approval requests and document sharing
  • 33% struggle with the document versioning

2. How much does the inefficiency cost your company?

The time, spent searching for the right information, affects organizations. The new technologies, content and knowledge management systems, corporate portals, and workflow solutions have all generally improved access to information, but they have also created an information deluge that makes any one piece of information more difficult to find.


Based on the statistic, a worker spends 2.5 hours per day, looking for information. Assuming now an average yearly salary of 80,000 $, the inability to find and retrieve documents costs an organization, that employs 1000 workers, $ 25 million per year.


Richard West, Manager at BAE system (defense and aeronautics manufacturer) discovered that engineers were working, in different parts of the country, on precisely the same problem – a wing construction issue – but in very different areas, a military aircraft and an Airbus. Continuing with our exercise, an enterprise employing 1,000 workers wastes $ 5 million per year because employees spend too much time duplicating information that already exists within the enterprise.


According to the Nintex report, turnover across industries has steadily increased since 2011. The retention crisis depends not only on a natural tendency but there is another huge part of the equation: broken corporate processes prevent employees to maximize their potential.

3. The solution

By simplifying the ability to search, retrieve, process, and archive documents from anywhere in the enterprise, content services and document management solutions, such as Alfresco, can enhance employee collaboration and speed up the decision-making process.

Alfresco is a centralized repository, used to create, store, distribute, discover, archive, and manage unstructured content (such as scanned documents, email, reports, medical images, and office documents), and ultimately analyze usage to enable organizations to deliver relevant content to users where and when they need it.

Conscious about the problem of finding the right documents, we built, on top of Alfresco, Alfred Finder, a web application that uses advanced search options to find and retrieve information in less than 3 seconds. You can enjoy a deep dive into the application, in one of our previous articles. 

“Alfred Finder got some really impressive features for building and saving queries and a blazing fast user interface.” – Jeff Potts

 We summarized some relevant benefits of adopting Alfresco in the following infographic.  

Today, organizations are investing in solutions to transform their operations from a paper-based environment to an electronic one.  Modernization means digitization, open architecture and automation, making records management more cost-effective and efficient, and information more accessible to the public. 

Company executives agree that good access to information is the basis for improved decision making, saves time and frustration, and leads to less duplication of effort within the enterprise.

Let’s try out our Alfred Finder and stop wasting time searching for information.

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