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Protecting Your Documents

David G. Lister, President
Digital Daemons, Inc.

Business documentation issues have been hitting the news more than ever the past several years. Several times government law enforcement agencies, the Securities Exchange Commission, and even stockholders have requested corporate confidential documents as part of an investigation into business practices. Many times those documents could not be found because they had been misplaced, misfiled, or just destroyed through negligence or on purpose. No matter which way, it costs our economy billions (yes, with a "B") of dollars every year for us to produce, distribute, track and find documents.

To try and quantify the cost of a single lost document let's first attempt to quantify the cost of creating the document in the first place. I usually can produce a single page of reasonably good content in about an hour and I value my time at roughly $100 per hour. It doesn't take a math genious to realize the that cost of initial production is $100 per page. We can always add all sorts of added costs to that figure like printing, binding, collating, reformatting for a Web site, and other such things but $100 is a nice figure to start with. That makes a 10 page report that I write for a client worth about $100 just to write.

Then there is the research necessary to produce the document. Let's take a rule of thumb that is used most frequently in the educational arena. Teachers commonly budget two hours of preparation time for every hour in lecture. When I taught while in graduate school I found this to be pretty close to being accurate if one wanted to produce a reasonably good quality presentation that most of the students did not sleep through. That means that the cost of the document just tripled to $300 per page to produce.

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