"The goal of the IWP Council is to build a model to measure information worker (IW) productivity in the information-centric business environment of the 21st Century," Conway told Microsoft Watch in an e-mail interview. "Productivity gains in this decade and beyond will come from understanding organization capital (people, processes, infrastructures) and their enablers (technology and services). The IWPCs goal is to develop a set of metrics that will allow companies to map their business functions to technology and service enablers. This mapping should result in a measure of economic utility for technology/service spending." Before the council can devise these metrics, participants need to agree on how to measure productivityspecifically, IW productivity, Conway explained.In its first phase, the IWPC is looking to define information work and workers, Conway said. Then, the project will begin to analyze the enterprise and its functions in order to examine the flow of information through business. While this data is collected by the members and their respective clients (against a process map designed utilizing the MIT Process Handbook research), the academic team, under the Center at MIT, will research critical topics related to information work, Conway said. "Bringing these two investigative paths together ... will yield new insight into the nature of IW as well as form a basis for measuring information work at its intersection with standard business process," she added. The IWPC also plans to investigate factors that have a negative impact on productivity, such as spam, Conway acknowledged. (This is an updated version of an article that originally appeared in the May 6, 2003, issue of the Microsoft Watch newsletter.)Discuss This in the eWEEK Forum
"Productivity is generally consideredwhen producing productsa measure of the inputs/outputs (cost/revenue)," she said. "There are a number of complications when considering IW productivity that include the fact that both the inputs and the outputs are often intangibles. Secondly, IW productivity is intricately tied to human capital (people) and collaboration, both of which tend to defy discrete measurement."