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Perception vs. Reality in Lost Productivity

People may quibble about the exact percentages shown below, but the primary message sent by this unscientific chart is that very often there is a huge disparity between what people think is causing a problem vs. the actual cause of the problem. Even with the much hyped Y2K problem, I am convinced that just as much time will be lost by user errors as by Y2K effects.

In the late 80s, most people blamed problems on viruses and hardware. The reality was that software and user error were much more likely to be at fault. Today most people blame problems on Y2K (here considered part of software bugs) and viruses. The reality is that user error is still as large a factor as software bugs.


Sources -- the first version of this chart was drawn by David Ray on a white board in 1987. The new data is my estimate based on years working in the industry with mainframes, workstations and PCs.


ChartObject Causes of lost productivity among computer users

Last Updated on 1/18/99
By Eldad Ganin

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