Goss Interactive are now offering a Channel Shift Return On Investment Calculator, apparently developed in conjunction with Plymouth University. Whilst I admire Goss’ marketing efforts in these mean times, I would suggest that any such calculator is little more than a wet finger in the air to determine the wind direction. Of course one can insert numbers of face-to-face and telephone transactions into a spreadsheet, crank the handle and be presented with what ‘in theory’ would be saved in human resources if the same transactions were done online – assuming again that:
- All back office applications were interfaced with the web applications in a bi-directional manner? (This also assumes that the capital and revenue costs for the interfaces are built into the same spreadsheet?)
- The same spreadsheet will also have a calculation for lack of take-up by the digitally unentitled (those without or not wishing to access electronically), the ones that will still telephone in or visit to ask questions?
- There will be the staff costs of maintaining the web site, back office systems etc under ongoing government changes, new legislation or other factors that come out of the future?
- That peak trend of applications that the public are willing to undertake online, without human intervention? (estimated at 30% from Canadian experience)
However, one could deny the citizen any face-to-face or telephone access to make the savings, as was done in the private sector? But look what happens when the computer plays up – NatWest, RBS, UlsterBank all open up for extra hours…
Are all the costs of going digital truly in there?