Feeds

The great productivity myth: Are we slaves to the machine?

Your success stories wanted

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

Workshop Desktop computers crash - that’s life.

We know from numerous research studies that, while there are indeed ‘bad guys out there’, in most instances the causes of downtime are far more mundane – application failure, connectivity problems and the infamous ‘blue screen of death’.

We can’t blame Microsoft for everything (as I discovered a couple of days ago when I disconnected a USB device from a Mac, to experience for myself the ‘grey mist of doom’ that may be better known to OSX users).

But does any of it really matter? Vendors talk about ‘productivity improvements’ that can be linked to the latest iterations of their products, and indeed I’m sure I’m not alone in experiencing the (transient) joy of running an application on a better, faster machine. But it is very hard to tease apart the relationships between the equipment and services that IT delivers, and the achievement of goals by business users.

We know from last week that many issues can be put down (at least in part) to a lack of knowledge or experience on the part of the user, but it was also clear from the mini-poll that technology has its part to play. So how exactly should we measure IT service delivery, and is it possible to link it to business productivity? Is it really enough to lean on ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it structures such as uptime measurements, resolution times or support calls dealt with, or can we be more canny about such things?

One thing’s for sure – a purely technical view is never going to be enough. Consider email for example – few if any organisations today would accept anything but ‘always-on’ service from their email systems. But equally, most people we speak to are suffering from the deluge of communications that the electronic world has enabled. It is difficult to link IT and productivity, without questioning whether IT (working well) is at times causing us to be less productive.

Perhaps technical measurements are irrelevant anyway. I have written elsewhere (viewsfromthebridge.wordpress.com) about the bathtub curve, which suggests that it’s far more important to keep a well maintained, up-to-date pool of kit than trying to calculate how well (or badly) things are going. And equally, from the business perspective, good management, delivery focus and all that will be far more important than the endeavours of a few well-meaning individuals in a poorly run organisation. Productivity may indeed be far more complex than we have the wherewithal to measure.

As it is unlikely that we shall ever arrive at a situation where things ‘just work’, or even a clear picture of how exactly things stand across the organisation, perhaps we should be looking for a middle ground of good-enough-ness where most things are compatible, most kit is up to date and most users are generally happy. Or perhaps that’s a cop-out – and we should be striving for a clear view across all our desktop assets, enabling rapid turn-around when it comes to support calls.

Later on we’ll be running a short poll about the challenges of desktop downtime. But for now we’d be interested in knowing any success stories you might be able to share when it comes to user productivity. Are you making a real difference or just helping to keep the lights on? We’d love to know. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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?