Great to hear it, and I’m happy I can help!
My journey into UX is a bit of a longer story (which you can hear on @joenatoli’s excellent “Making UX Work” podcast). Long story short - I was working a call center, saw an opportunity to make an impact, and worked between calls to design a tool to make the work of call center employees easier.
I failed to get it implemented, and was told to stop working on it, again and again. I can’t recall if it was 4 or 5 times that my project was officially killed. I ignored them and kept working on it.
Brace yourself: math ahead.
Eventually my company opened up a “Career Development Program” where lower-level employees could pitch business ideas to the CEO for a chance to get moved into a management training program and eventually into a role more appropriate for their skills.
This included writing a business case for our presentation. Business cases generally require a ROI estimate. This meant figuring out the costs and the savings of the project. My proposal was to hire a new designer/developer to implement my system company-wide (at a cost of $100,000/year, average for my area). To get the ROI percentage figure - which is (Cost/(Benefit - Cost)) x 100 - we first had to calculate how much time was saved.
To calculate that, I timed myself performing tasks using the tool and not using the tool, and found an average of 34 seconds saved on each call. We had 300 employees working on the phones each day, taking an average of 180 calls a day, making an average of $21.40/hr (including benefits). So my calculation looked like:
S = Seconds Saved/Call
C = Number of Calls/Day
E = Number of Employees Scheduled/Day
A = Average Salary
I = Initial Cost
D = Dollars Saved/Year
R = Return on Investment
H = Hours Saved/Day
S = 34;
C = 180;
E = 300;
A = 21.40;
I = $100,000;
H = ((S * C * E)/60)/60;
(Gives us total hours saved per day)
D = H * 365 * A;
(Multiply total hours saved per day * 365 days in a year * average salary)
R = (D / I) * 100;
(Traditional figure for ROI - gives how much of the investment will be turned into profit as a percentage of the initial investment.)
Solve for R
D = H * 365 * A =>
D = (((34 * 180 * 300)/60)/60) * 365 * 21.40 =>
D = 510 * 365 * 21.40 =>
D = $3,983,610
R = (D / I) * 100 =>
R = ($3,983,610 / $100,000) * 100 =>
R = 398%
That means that for every dollar spent on the project, we’d return $398 in savings its first year alone.
After my presentation, the CEO turned to the other C-level leadership and our call center managers and asked “Why aren’t we already doing this?” I was accepted into the management training program and eventually promoted to a software engineer role tasked with building and implementing my tool.
As a side note, my project has been in-use now, so far as I know, for the past 7 years, which means a savings of at least $27.9 million (assuming everything remained constant) for my employer. Given that they’ve added work force and complexity to their systems, that number is likely far bigger. I left because, although I got a promotion, my pay stayed the same (around $35k/year) - far less than the market average for a software engineer. This made their initial ROI an even crazier 1138%. I knew my skills would be more valuable elsewhere.
So let’s look at things this way: that figure is what you could save if you could eliminate all problems, and UX represents 1/4 of the list of reasons why software fails. If you divide $780,000/4, that gives you $195,000. Even at a salary of $100k, that’s still a 195% ROI, which is still terrific.
As you say, there are a number of different ways you could couch and calculate this if you’re looking to temper expectations.
I haven’t, but the calculation would be similar.
I hope that all helps! Given that there’s a crap ton of math involved, I know that can be a little confusing for some. Let me know if I can clarify anything.