Feb 10 | Stew Jensen

Subtitle : How to squeeze the most from your Website investment, or … How to convince that sniveling myopic CFO tightwad to open the pocket book (I keed, I keed).OK, the beat goes on...
I am sure you have all been on the edge of your Aerons waiting for question number dos. Without further adiu...
2) How can we help reduce operating costs by leveraging your website to create efficiencies?
At Your (Self) Service:  By implementing some of the ideas in the Extranet idea above, customers and clients (and partners, press, investors) are empowered with more options on how they can do business with you. For those who prefer the DIY approach, being able to get forms, invoice copies, catalogs, ad slicks, logos, images, plans will allow you to lessen your CSR workload (and headcount) while also reducing mail and printing costs. Better yet, by pushing ordering capabilities online, customers reduce manual data entry and mistakes when the information flows directly into the offline systems required through data integration. 
Become Introverted: Similar to the point above and the benefits of an Extranet, a password protected Intranet is a fantastic way to keep employees informed and offers inexpensive ways to share knowledge across your enterprise. Of course employees will be happier when they can get HR forms, vacation balances, and consult online policy and procedures 24/7 without having to go through HR. However, an intranet can be even more powerful when combined with collaboration options like a searchable company Wiki to capture and share knowledge and resources. Other interesting options include internal threaded discussions for those seeking peer input and help with business issues, employee classifieds, corporate events calendar, dynamic organizational charts, online expense report forms, and online suggestion box. 
Don't Get Duped: At PMW we hate duplicated effort. Making sure to take advantage of "type once, publish many" whenever possible to make managing the website and all the new secondary content publishing options as easy as possible. While this has been our mantra for building smart CMS functionality to manage websites for years, the plethora of third party media options such as company Blogs, YouTube channels, Flickr albums, podcasts, Facebook pages, and LinkedIn profiles means quite a bit of effort to place information (not to mention potential for error). PMW is building new integration options every day to help coordinate and simplify the publishing of information across these options for improved marketing visibility with less effort.
New Virtual Realities: Video Demos, Webinars, Self-guided Flash product tours, and video conferencing are all great ways to reduce travel and sales costs while shortening the sales cycle. Collaboration tools can also be used online to improve client communications while providing a solid "paper" trail to monitor and control scope creep. 
Again, calculating ROI around operational efficiencies needs some creative math due to the lack of hard web metrics. Reducing printing and mailing costs by moving fulfillment to a client Extranet as well as reduced sales travel expenses can be measured year over year. Otherwise, we are saving wasted employee hours. You can create a calculation by looking at those hours saved (lets say 360 hours a year wasted per employee) and either use the average employee hourly cost ($29 x 360hours x 12 people = $125k per year) or the opportunity cost if those people might otherwise be billable ($145 x 360 x 12 People =  $626k). A savvy CFO might look at this situation and say, perhaps these efficiencies could help me reduce headcount or have people focused on activities that generate revenue.... hmmmmm.
Next week: 3) How can we create new business and more sales?