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All change ahead for greater productivity
How can businesses boost productivity? It’s the head-scratching question faced by all CEOS: they all look to bring more efficiencies into the workplace and introduce greater margins. From a technological point of view, it’s a problem faced by CIOs, who have to do more with less to spend.
There are divergent views on this across the globe: some economies have labour intensive employment practices (the UK for example) while some economies, like the US, have higher productivity figures because of the level of investment in technology, particular newer technologies.
What are these newer technologies and how will the world change in 2016. It’s easy to list the trends that are going to be more pervasive in the coming year as so many of them are having an impact already.
The growing use of analytics – the so-called Big Data – will mean that organisations are going to have more knowledge about what their customers are doing, are thinking and are ultimately wanting. This will be coupled with an ever-increased use of social media and greater interactivity with customers will improve performance considerably.
It’s important not to discount the growing importance of tablets and mobile devices, many of which are being brought into workplaces. There’s a growing interest and acceptance of BYOD.
According to a 2013 survey from Dell, more than two-thirds of businesses have seen rises in employee productivity from allowing to bring in their own devices: the survey found that productivity gains would come from more flexible working hours and improved collaboration.
If there’s one phrase that sums up all the changes that are impacting on enterprises, it’s “digital transformation”. This is has seen in the employment policies of many large organisations where chief digital officer has become almost as ubiquitous as the chief technology officer.
Dell has recognised this by introducing a new business division, Digital Business Services, aimed at providing an end-to-end overhaul of company’s digital strategies. “Digital transformation enhances new business models, customer experiences, employee engagement and operational excellence, and offers enormous multi-dimensional opportunities for our customers to derive numerous benefits for their business and end users. Yet, our research shows lack of time, resources and skills, as well as the difficulty in changing the company’s culture, get in the way of digital adoption,” said Raman Sapra, executive director and global head, Digital Business Services, Dell, speaking in early 2015.
He raises the point that one of the biggest barriers to change is company culture and not necessarily the technology. There’s always resistance to doing things a different way but, if the company is not operating at maximum efficiency with existing methods, it’s maybe time to do something differently.
That’s not to say that technology won’t help: if you’re stuck with proprietary systems and an inflexible approach to hardware, you won’t be able to get very far, no matter what your attitude to change is.
But a company that looks like open standards, a cloud-based architecture and easy integration of mobile devices will be better prepared to meet the challenges ahead. And when they go hand-in-hand with a flexible approach to business, then that company is in a real position to make real changes and start talking about a positive approach to productivity.