Productivity is a key workplace goal, achieved when people, process and systems come together to fill business objectives in the most efficient, cost effective manner possible. Unfortunately, productivity is not easily obtained, with any number of known barriers (from operational, to financial and political) that may stand in the way. Of all the tools available to overcome these barriers, end-user technology is probably the most effective. Read on to learn more.
Technology has changed the modern workplace, making great strides in operational productivity. To realize every benefit, technology has to be properly implemented and managed on an onging basis. As an operational unit, the I.T. department is responsible for delivering that goal, ensuring that key systems are continually available, reliable and suited to the needs of the business. In that role, I.T. must also facilitate the actual use of technology through support, information and training services. And, above all, I.T. must also ensure that technology solutions are relevant, as easy to use as possible, and always appropriate to the skill levels of the end-user community.
Considering these responsibilities, IT managers need to answer the key productivity questions:
As an operational unit, I.T. is responsible for the mechanisms of workplace productivity and for providing the tools by which those mechanisms are used. If technical productivity is not realized, it may well be viewed as an IT failure. To avoid that perception, IT must be able to overcome barriers to technical productivity on multiple levels:
The users/recipients of technology and related IT Services, and may be resistant to changes in systems functionality, appearance or performance. In addition, these same end-users may be less than enthusiastic about IT's role and influence in their daily business operations, preferring to "do IT themselves".
The designated staff responsible to support and service technology and may be more interested in pure technical issues than in the merging of technical priorities with business realities.
The designated executives and managers who may not see the value of technology and IT services to the bottom line.
As noted, barriers to technical productivity can come from many sources, including end-users, IT staff, and company management. In order to properly manage and respond to these barriers, you need to identify the source. This will determine your path and ultimate objectives. For example, end-user barriers can be tackled with added training, or improved customer service, but management barriers require a different level of finesse, and an ability to translate technical solutions into tangible business benefits.
Whether you need tackle productivity issues as part of an ongoing effort for process improvement, or in response to a problem or changing business circumstance, it will be much easier to tackle the issues, and overcome the barriers, if you break the process down into a series of manageable components.
These are the possible "productivity breakdowns" to consider....
Productivity analysis and response is a complex process, involving information, understanding and communication. As you gather and analyze information, you may find that there are barriers to overcome:
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