IT Efficiency: 5 Ways to Improve Productivity in the Tech-Dependent World
Although it seems like IT, gadgets and the Internet have conquered every aspect of the business world, some companies still refrain from using these gifts of civilization to enhance their everyday processes. If you notice that by “interacting with technology” your employees mean simply checking the corporate mailbox and there’s still a fax number on your business cards, we have bad news for you. First, you notice your IT efficiency is low and later you see your business slipping further down from the top. Sure, technology might not be the main reason your business is failing, but it can definitely change the way you’re doing things and improve your position. Don’t ignore technologies; your competitors definitely won’t.
Improving IT Efficiency through Digital Transformation
In the recent years, productivity in the USA has grown and several prominent American economists say IT is to blame. British think tanks and business organizations suggest that significant adoption of technology, or the so-called digital transformation, is the solution for modern businesses. Orientation on technology has become vital for any kind of production: from news making to law consultancy. Here are five universal ways to improve your corporate productivity with technology.
Data Management and Automation
Today, data can become the new currency and unlocking its value is critical for a successful business. You can’t afford using yesterday’s technology for data collection and efficiency management. Businesses must invest in tools and technologies to capture, analyze their data and turn it into the base for informed corporate decisions.
IBM brilliantly summarizes it by asking “What did your data do last night?” Did it add costs, spawn bad decisions, create risks? Or did it increase your competitive advantage instead? Effective data management will show you the problem points and the current or potential bottlenecks of your business so that you could find ways to fix or eliminate them before they turn into hard-to-solve business problems. But please, avoid simple decisions. You cannot just google “data management” and find a perfect solution for your business within the first 10 pages of results. Entrust it to a good data scientist who will put your data to work for competitive advantage around the clock. Would you try fixing your broken finger yourself instead of going to a professional? So, isn’t your data worth a similar attitude?
Accessing Information Anytime, Anywhere
Yes, it means that your colleagues may find you even on your secret vacation in Italy. However, it also means that you will not lose a business opportunity just because you were unavailable or certain important decisions weren’t made in time. Of course, being accessible doesn’t suggest that any of your employees should be working 24/7, but it is you who should develop an on-call schedule or choose a person on duty, who will be available via effective communication channels. Problems with the landline or bad Internet shouldn’t influence corporate decisions.
When used wisely, being available and having access to corporate information anywhere can give you more freedom than limitations. Working remotely from the Bahamas does sound more appealing that refreshing the Facebook feed every ten minutes in the office.
Seamless Communication with Coworkers
There are numerous tools today that allow people from different continents to communicate quickly and easily. Why on Earth then do your coworkers still roam around the office with a coffee mug in their hands, dwelling on the issues that could have been solved by a single email? The less time people waste on identifying a communication channel, the more time they have to actually communicate. Setting up an internal platform for interaction between employees would eliminate the need to use lots of different apps like Slack, Gmail, Trello and Workplace by Facebook. Moreover, a single platform that would allow employees to chat, write and receive emails, manage and keep track of projects and share their thoughts on the company or discuss personal topics would speed up communication and bring coworkers closer.
More Learning Opportunities for Employees
What is your first thought when you think of corporate learning using technology? Another endless and boring powerpoint presentation or a general online training obligatory for everyone? Well, don’t expect this approach to encourage your staff to learn something new then. At the same time, the HR’s Council’s 2008 survey (held among nonprofit sector employees) has shown career development and training to be among the top significant contributing factors to people’s job satisfaction. Employees may even regard a helpful and practical professional growth course as a corporate bonus or a reward.
A really good training must be flexible, personally-tailored and based on technology-enhanced learning (TEL). There are numerous platforms that offer such services. Some of them use a system that assesses people’s competencies in targeted skill areas and addresses their skill gaps, others adapt while users move through modules and offer interactive quizzes and stimulations. Adults like to play while learning no less than children do, and look how quickly kids learn!
Better Security Management
Passwords may be your first guess when you determine the security efficiency of your business, but having a secure system means more than setting difficult passwords and changing them frequently. Too many businesses haven’t taken the necessary steps to protect their systems in case of cyber-attacks and have paid a high price for that. On the other hand, you can get stuck in a conflict between organizational productivity and security sometimes called the information security paradox. It suggests that people may work less and worse because they feel that cumbersome security mechanisms are draining both their time and efforts.
In 2015, Dell sponsored a survey of IT professionals and full-time business users. According to its results, 91% of the people asked said that security measures reduced their productivity. In the same survey, 70% of IT professionals said that the employees’ efforts to bypass security constraints are actually the biggest threat to the information security of their organizations. Warwick Ashford, ComputerWeekly.com Security Editor, points out that nearly all surveyed IT professionals recognize the benefits which a context-aware security approach would bring to improve productivity, but hardly a third of them are using it. The context-aware security approach gives IT the ability to adjust the dial in real time and is convenient for users. Ashford says it focuses on the context of the access request to ensure that the access is appropriate in real-time, hence, it allows to overcome barriers set by the conventional IT security.
Paradoxical IT Efficiency
Despite the constant praising of technology, declarations that the Solow Paradox is dead may have been premature. In 1987, Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics, famously said: “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” Since then, numerous studies have been carried out to prove or contest Solow’s conclusion that information technology doesn’t boost productivity. The discussion is still going strong but one of the possible explanations of the phenomenon is that while IT will not help you produce more of the same, conventional things, it will allow you to create something unique in new ways. Also, as Paul David, an economist at Oxford University suggests, technology will start having a significant effect on productivity only when it has reached a certain penetration rate, so don’t expect immediate results. All in all, try to use less technology, but do it in a more efficient way and focus on the IT infrastructure optimization of your business.
You may search for the best options for your business if you have plenty of free time and the desire to explore a completely new field. Or you could ask a professional to do that instead. Someone like Skelia. Contact us to receive an extensive consultation on increasing the IT efficiency of your business today.