Forbes Technology Council member company BigTime Software, a cloud SaaS provider of time management software for professional services firms, recently released a study that found that companies lost around $35 billion every year because of poor or nonexistent notes surrounding employee time entry on billable projects.

While previous studies, including one published in the Harvard Business Review last year, surveyed employees’ own opinions on how valuable their time entries were, this study used economic value, rather than opinions, as its yardstick. This study is unique both in its’ use of economic valuation of data and in its’ scale. BigTime analyzed 12 million timesheets, reviewing the digital timesheets and associated metadata.

The study’s findings revealed that it’s more valuable for businesses to know what their employees are working on — in as few as 150 characters, included as notes on their timesheets — rather than exactly when they’re working, as long as they log time every day or so. The data also showed that small- and mid-sized firms could increase project intake by $5,000 to $10,000 per employee annually if those employees added notes to their time entries.

Realizing the Potential of Big Data to Help Firms Succeed

Although BigTime didn’t intend to be part of the Big Data movement, through its’ meticulous analytics and quest to add value through data, it’s headed down that path.

“You don’t start out saying ‘I’m going to develop a set of data that I can use to help professional firms run more effectively,’” said Forbes Technology Council member and BigTime CEO Brian Saunders in the company’s post. “You head out in one direction, and keep an eye out for potential value.”

“The thing that makes Big Data so compelling is that cloud companies have created multi-tenant data warehouses. It’s really a gold mine of information that has the potential to help our customer base elevate their business in a way that they couldn’t if they were on their own,” he said.

From BigTime Chairman John Howell on the study: “Our purpose has always been to help our professional service firm customers be more profitable. This research is consistent with that philosophy. It’s another way that we can leverage the data our software captures to help our customers, and the industry at large, achieve greater economic success.”

Howell emphasized, “BigTime’s study isn’t about big data. It’s about the discoveries we made using big data. The fact that notes and timely entry increase billing realization is of immediate value and useful even if you don’t use our product.”

You can learn more about BigTime on its site, read the company’s full release here, check out the study abstract here, and see a few key findings from their study, below.

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