Meetings are potentially the most important and most costly business process in most organisations, not simply in terms of timespend, but also in terms of (lost) opportunity, (lack of) commitment, (slow) progress and (missing) creativity. And because meetings are a largely fragmented, distributed and un-recognised process there have been difficulties in collating information concerning it.
However, over recent years, the advent of Calendar software has lead to a situation where much of the data concerning the time we spend in meetings, and the nature of those meetings, is already documented.
All of the information required to understand current organisational expenditure exists in people’s calendars. It is now common practice for people to create meeting invites in their own calendars, and to accept invites from other people’s calendars. And with the advent of scheduling assistants, people actively stake out the time they need for scheduled events and travel so that other meetings do not coincide with what they have planned.
As a result, calendars have become an accurate record of how people spend their time, and how much of that time is taken up in meetings and travel.
and stringent security practices) and present it back in analytical form, enabling people to see how their time breaks down into different types of meetings, and the balance of characteristics for those meetings.
Inspirometer’s hierachical account system, allows this data to be collated into team, departmental, and organisational pictures, enabling (for the first time) organisations to see their investment in meetings, and how that breaks down, in real-time.
Furthermore, data updates effortlessly and automatically whenever people open their Outlook, and the results can be seen instantly by anyone with the permissions to do so. Individuals can see how well they are utilising virtual and asynchronous technologies for collaboration, and the extent to which their meetings have clear objectives and agendas. Management can observe trends, and identify where help is required. The only effort is in the installation of the add-in, which requires about 10 minutes and a few clicks of the mouse.
The add-in is able to gather the following information from your calendar:
- The size and length of your meetings
- Your role in those meetings
- The categories you have applied to those meetings
- Who you were meeting with
- The subject of your meeting (and whether it is part of a series)
- Whether your meeting was: physical or virtual; internal or external
- Any objectives or agenda associated with your meetings
- Time spent in travel associated with meetings
- The extent to which meetings affect thinking or leisure time
Many of these things can be interpreted directly from your existing data, but others may require some simple adjustments to how you record things – see refining your calendar data.