The promise of technology is that it will make menial tasks, and even some complex ones, simpler and faster, thereby increasing overall productivity at an organization. Indeed, information technology has become ubiquitous in almost every industry, whether it’s manufacturing, healthcare, or the finance industry.
Spending on technology has increased as well, and it’s expected to increase even more. According to Forrester, U.S. corporate and government technology budgets are expected to grow as much as 6% this year (2018). One would assume that, with this influx of new technology, productivity would also be on the upswing.
In reality, increases in productivity have slowed in recent years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity in the nonfarm business sector only increased by an average of 1.2% between 2007 and 2017. That’s a drop from an average of 2.6% between 2000 and 2007.
So, what gives?
There are a few possible reasons for this. Some speculate that smartphones are to blame. Others believe that workers are inundated with so many tools that they’re just too difficult to manage. Distractions abound in the age of digital transformation. But technology itself may not be the real culprit.
The truth is, technology does make employees more effective and increases their productivity, but only when a company invests in the right new technology, gets buy-in from the top of the organization to the bottom, and integrates that technology seamlessly into their processes.
Be Selective About Your Technology
There are countless tech and software startups today, with so many apps and extensions that a business can become overburdened with software. As a business, you also have to make important decisions regarding your hardware. What capabilities do you need? Are you going to use Macs or PCs? Should you store your data in the cloud, maintain your own servers, or use a hybrid model?
A good first step is to focus on your office’s tech essentials. You’ll need high-speed internet, computers, a website and email provider, and a way to store and secure your data. Once you’ve covered these basics, you can start looking for ways to make increase employee productivity.
The key is to identify those key parts of your business that need to be accelerated, made more secure, and made easier, and to avoid investing in technology that could be superfluous or even cause distractions.
For example, if you have employees who work remotely, project management software, time tracking software, virtual meeting tools, company laptops, and data security are probably good investments. Not only will your remote employees be more secure when they’re working, they’ll be able to collaborate easily with the rest of the team and work in real time as if they are just down the hall.
Update and Replace Old and Dated Technology
If you’re still using dated technology, it could be affecting employee productivity and even employee morale.
Businesses can and should try to get the highest return on investment from their previous technology and IT infrastructure investment, but old technology will eventually reach the end of its lifecycle — to the point that it is no longer useful or relevant, or may even become frustrating to use. Once it crosses that threshold, it makes employee tasks more sluggish and cumbersome, which can impact productivity and your company’s ability to compete.
If you’re experiencing system errors and hardware failures, or if you can no longer acquire good IT support for your technology, these are good indicators that it’s time to find some replacements.
Time is one of the most valuable resources your company has. Updating your technology will free up your employees to move faster between tasks and complete tasks in a more timely fashion. It will also reduce the risk of complete halts in your productivity because of network downtime, broken hardware and software, or even security breaches.
If you want to avoid running into issues relating to outdated technologies in the future, identify those technologies you need to replace and plan your investments ahead for the next several years.
Work With a Managed IT Services Provider
Selecting the right technology for your business can be a chore in and of itself, and that’s not even considering the steps you have to take to integrate that technology and train your employees on how to use it. But the return on investment will be worth it.
To make the process as seamless as possible, you can partner with a managed IT services provider and network consultant. In addition to providing you with network and IT support, a managed IT services provider can help you make important decisions about your technology and even help you integrate new technology into your business.
Most importantly, they’ll show your team how to use new technology to make your employees more effective and increase productivity as a whole.