E-communication analysis: the cost of an internal email messaging system within organisations

A cost-benefit analysis of the use of internal email was carried out at the Danwood Group at Lincoln in the UK. This was a pilot exercise forming part of a larger exercise to evaluate the costs and benefits of using computers to help further communications throughout the company. The times taken to read, write and carry out other functions with email were measured for a sample of employees. The email content was also monitored to determine which emails were business related. It was found that nearly two thirds of all emails dealt with were non-business related at the start of the research, but this figure decreased exponentially to a consistent 43% towards the end of study. Overall the findings indicate that despite the fact that only one third of email use was business orientated, the time taken is still worthwhile compared with other traditional communication methods. However, it was not possible to fully quantify the benefits of email over these other methods, as the data for the alternatives has not yet been collected. The study showed that further research is necessary in this respect. The paper concludes that the analysis has been a useful learning experience for the company showing the value of cost-benefit research and highlighting the difficulties involved. It has also identified the possible benefits that could be obtained by monitoring the email system.