Monday, December 22, 2008

Information Overload Now $900 Billion Cost to U.S. Economy

/PRNewswire/ -- Information overload costs the U.S. economy $900 billion per year in lowered employee productivity and reduced innovation, according to the latest research from Basex, the leading provider of research on the productivity of knowledge workers and how technology impacts them.

Information overload describes an excess of information that results in the loss of ability to make decisions, process information, and prioritize tasks. It has been identified as a key challenge for companies that operate in the knowledge economy.

Workers spend up to 50 percent of their day managing and searching for information, according to a recent survey conducted by Basex of more than 3,000 knowledge workers, and streamlining this process can have a significant impact on productivity. But determining the extent of the problem is the first step.

"In order to remain competitive in 2009, companies will need to begin an information overload bailout, i.e. taking active countermeasures, in order to remain competitive," said Jonathan B. Spira, chief analyst at Basex.

To help companies understand their financial exposure, Basex has created a free, Web-based "information overload calculator" ( so that companies can calculate the impact of the problem on their own operations.

"The fact that companies need to undertake a 'bailout' to combat the problem tells us how serious an issue information overload has become," said David M. Goldes, president and senior analyst at Basex. "Nothing has been more disruptive to the way we work than information overload."

Intel, a company with 86,300 employees, sees information overload as a serious problem. "At Intel we estimated the impact of information overload on each knowledge worker at up to eight hours a week," said Nathan Zeldes, a principal engineer focusing on computing productivity issues at Intel and chairman of the Information Overload Research Group, an industry consortium. "We continuously look at applying new work behaviors that can help reduce its impact."

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