It has been said over and over, and proven by research and real life experience, that technology can be used to effectively increase productivity. One of the questions that is not often addressed is how a company, regardless of size, go from zero tech to productivity tech without interrupting the daily workflow and losing productivity in the process. If the net increase is zero productivity, then the entire transition may have been for naught.
Planning Is Primary
In smaller businesses, the transition can be made without a lot of fuss. Perhaps the biggest reason smaller business can make the change is that they are quickly evolving, so there is a growth mentality that is ongoing; incorporating new ideas or ways of doing business feels natural. But when moving up in scale to larger companies, a decline in productivity to leverage technology can set the company a step back from the competition, from which it may make some time to recover.
This is why planning is primary. Whether in the small business or the large enterprise, planning through regularly-scheduled interdepartmental meetings can considerably smooth the transition process of incorporating or upgrading technology that will increase in productivity. The goal is to create a net advantage for the company as a whole. Ensuring that every department is involved with the process means that once the plan is set in motion everyone will benefit.
Once the plan is set in motion there has to be an objective way of measuring the actual impact on productivity. Some departments will find this easier to do than others. For example, the number of customer service calls and the quality of customer service can be measured through customer satisfaction surveys. The evidence generated will be simple to digest and easily understood. In other departments, the measurement may be more subjective. In either case, it is important to define standards by which the expected increase in productivity can be measured.
Equally important is that the measurements be performed on a periodic basis over a defined period of time. Choose to err on the side of more measurements over a longer period of time, rather than fewer measurements over a short period. Not every technology introduced will have an immediate impact, nor will there be a consistent result from every department’s measurement. It is possible that in certain cases the introduction of technology will negatively impact productivity. In this case, management needs to be honest with itself and make the necessary changes to return the department or company to its previous levels of productivity.
The question then becomes whether the investment of time and money in technology has any inherent risk associated with it. The simplest answer is “yes.” What works for one company may not work for another. The makeup of each company is unique, and its employees are chosen to meet both the requirements of the company’s culture and its expectations. Whenever a company chooses to take the step to improve its productivity, a review of everything the company’s brand represents and its overall mission should be a central part of the discussion.