Technologies and skills that can enhance or diminish productivity
by Marco Tapia
January 22, 2013
Productivity is doing more with less or doing the same faster and/or cheaper. So, the removal of inefficiency means increase of productivity. Implementing new business systems, using some new technology effectively, improving technology related skills have shown to be an important way to improve business productivity.
Following is the authors’s selection of a set of technologies, skills and tools that could help your business to lift productivity.
A. Technologies that improve productivity
A-1. Front end technologies taken for granted (must have):
- Email (My pick: Outlook/Gmail)
- Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
- Web browser (My pick: Google Chrome)
- Broadband, WIFI
A-2. Front end technologies that you should consider:
- Snipping tool (on Windows 7) – Easy way to photograph what you have on your screen
- Google Desktop Hot key (Twice hitting the CTRL key to fire up Google search) – save many minutes on a day
- LastPass – It will remember most of your passwords
- Dropbox – Allows mobility without carrying devices and to share files with others
- Apple’s Ipad – Where to start! Browse the internet with no booting time, read your email any where any time and fast, many business productivity tools available, read business documents on the road, Facetime, Skype, messages, etc, etc.
- Westpac App on iPad – If you are a Westpac customer, This is a fantastic and effective app to manage your money and investments
- Skype – To communicate real time with others, at little or no cost
- Dual monitors – Accelerate your office work. You will never go back to a single monitor.
A-3. Related skills and learning to enhance productivity:
- Touch Typing – In a few weeks people can learn to touch type at the speed of speech. Once that level is reached writing emails, documents, etc, becomes highly efficient.
- Learning keyboard shortcuts. Each time you do not use the mouse you are saving time. How often have you wanted to tell someone ‘Press CTL S’ when you see them reaching for the mouse and moving it across the screen to press the little disk icon. Most applications including the office suite and modern web browsers come packed with keyboard shortcuts that makes the mouse almost redundant.
A-4. At the enterprise level (back end):
- AWS – Amazon Web Services – the leader public cloud service. Save time and money on infrastructure delivery.
- Citrix GotoMeeting – Fas, economical and effective way to have global meetings.
- Riverbed – WAN optimisation technologies. To accelerate your network performance. Brilliant!.
- In memory computing – Fast analysis of huge amount of data
- Bigdata – Powered by Hadoop on AWS is the the future of enterprise analytics!.
B. Technologies that waste business productivity (but may have other valuable use):
- Facebook – use it at home (on your iPad)
- Twitter – use it at home (on your iPad)
- Linkedin – for home or lunch time.
- Thin computing – restrict users of the freedom every person needs with computing power, access and flexibility. Some solutions may have niche valuable applications.
The benefits of high productivity are manifold. At the national level, productivity growth raises living standards because more real income improves people’s ability to purchase goods and services, enjoy leisure, improve housing and education and contribute to social and environmental programs. Productivity growth is important to the firm because more real income means that the firm can meet its (perhaps growing) obligations to customers, suppliers, workers, shareholders, and governments (taxes and regulation), and still remain competitive or even improve its competitiveness in the market place.
Source: Courbois & Temple 1975, Gollop 1979, Kurosawa 1975, Pineda 1990, Saari 2006
Our productivity is largely a consequence of the way we configure our work. The processes, tools, physical layout, policies and technologies that govern our work environments influence how we work and ultimately dictate how productive we can be. Companies with better systems, processes, machinery and equipment, infrastructure, workforce training and human capital strategies are more productive than those less well equipped.
Source Building the Lucky Country™ and People as the Killer App™ , Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in Australia.
By far and away the most common reason for businesses investing in new technologies over the past three years has been to increase productivity levels.
Source: The Australian Industry Group national CEO survey: Business Investment in New Technologies http://www.aigroup.com.au/portal/binary/com.epicentric.contentmanagement.servlet.ContentDeliveryServlet/LIVE_CONTENT/Publications/Reports/2012/10767_ceo_survey_report_technology_web.pdf
What do I mean by wasting business productivity?
Doing less within the same working hours i.e. spending business time in non-productive activities
Doing things slower when can be done faster
Marco A. Tapia