Feeds

Productivity – operational dream or individual reality?

Hmmm...

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Are there benefits resulting from an investment in wireless or remote access technology in addition to direct financial return? Many companies recognise the importance of increased competitive advantage, and enhancing the value of previous investments, but far fewer perceive the value of user acceptance.

This is disappointing as many other benefits, including individual productivity will be greatly compromised by employees who are resentful or have not bought into the use of new technologies or processes. A little early consultation might also identify other problems that can be fixed before purchase or deployment.

Technology is often expected to make improvements in productivity – either changes that directly impact the individual or the overall operational efficiency – and this is no less the case for wireless and mobile communications. Why then do only half of UK businesses employ a formal process to measure productivity of new mobility projects, and why aren’t others doing their best to ensure that the broader benefits are realised by getting users involved early?

Any investment in a business needs to generate a financial return. Most UK businesses expect this to be over 12-18 months for a typical IT project, but this period lengthens slightly for wireless and remote access projects. Why a longer period? Some of the technology might be a little more complex or unfamiliar, but the difficulty in measuring the changes to individuals’ working lives and the broader impact on business processes are the more likely causes.

Neither individual nor organisational productivity are easy to measure, as the costs and benefits beyond the simple financial return on the capital expenditure in the solution are difficult to quantify. For example, are office workers more productive if they are able to communicate when out of the office, and does this also improve responsiveness? This is unlikely to have a direct impact on profits or costs, but may improve customer or employee satisfaction. It may be harder to measure for the bottom line, but just as valuable to the business.

The challenge is made more difficult by the different agendas of specific roles; line of business managers seeking operational improvements, financial controllers looking to reduce costs, and IT managers trying to look beyond day to day fire fighting and dreaming of innovation and new technologies to add value to the business.

Users are looking to cut out tedious paperwork, reduce unnecessary commuting, and get some more control over their own time. Not so much work/life balance, more like plain old effective time management. Something that supports them along this path will encourage them to be more productive. If it is a solution they buy into, so much the better.

There is an acknowledged fear that employees will become resentful of the intrusion of mobile and remote working technologies as they take work home, and will feel they are working longer hours. Some employers will see this as the extra productivity they were hoping for, but this is unlikely to be the case.

Employee attitude is vital to realising any improvements in productivity. Well motivated employees will always try to get the best out of anything that might help them improve their working day, but poorly motivated ones may rebel, fool around and squander any efficiency gains.

Mobile and remote working might require some major changes in the way employees can be supervised and managed day to day, but it does little to change the basic principles of good management. Have clear objectives, communicate them well, consult early, get buy-in, monitor and use positive reinforcement appropriate to the results. Good for the individual and good for the organisation.

Details on the responses to a survey of mobile productivity in UK businesses and further analysis can be found in the "Productivity or Pain" and "Users and Applications" reports which are freely available for download from the Quocirca website.

Copyright © 2005,

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.