Feeds

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

Your success stories wanted

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
Top Gun display for your CAR: Heads-up fighter pilot tech
Sadly Navdy kit doesn't include Sidewinder missile to blast traffic
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Things are looking up in Flappy Bird sequel
'Swing Copters' offers the same gameplay but in a different direction
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.