The amount of time anyone in a business spends actually being productive has become a central question in today’s economy: It would therefore be advantageous if people spent as much time as possible on actual money earning tasks and less so on administration.
With that in mind, we spoke to James McKerrell from CRS Technologies about the concept of ”Productivity”…
A genuine belief that technology can boost productivity is driving the increase in volume and size of investment in ICT. This is the view of experts focused on the Human Capital Management (HCM) area who say that today decision makers have a plethora of business-building solutions to choose from and the challenge is in sourcing the right product at the right time.
James McKerrell, CEO of CRS Technologies South Africa, says most businesses understand that productivity affects the bottom line directly. He explains that the use of technology to confirm and measure productivity levels represents another important point in a discussion about whether or not technology is improving productivity.
“Technology is required to try to get information back to the business to understand that productivity is making an impact… and sometimes these businesses look at the wrong technology to deliver that,” he says. “Whether it is direct cost or something else, they don’t see the value add.”
However, CRS Technologies has recognised the need and has a range of “tools” to assist clients realise the value of their investment in technology which in turn boosts productivity.
“If technology is correctly used and it is the right technology, you can get realtime information that can be used to guide strategy and decision making because you can see what costs are used to generate revenue. If you are monitoring this on a realtime basis you can see where you are going wrong and where not,” McKerrell adds.
Increased productivity equates to an improvement in output, product/service delivery and enhancement that leads to an improvement to bottom line.
The other side of the productivity coin
Generally productivity gain is nearly always welcomed in the workplace. However, as McKerrell explains, there are instances where an increase in productivity is not beneficial. “If we consider the manufacturing environment where a machine is designed that for high performance and can perform tasks quicker, this would ordinarily replace an individual. In a market in which job creation is critical, this type of scenario is actually counter productive.”
As an example of where technology is making a real and lasting difference to productivity in business, McKerrell points to the development of the HR and HCM space. Practitioners in these environments have generally been regarded as ‘paper pushers’ and being enveloped in this volume of paper means that they are not free to focus on core work. “In other words, these employees are ‘unproductive’. Embracing technology would certainly address this issue McKerrell adds, but to get people to embrace technology is not easy.
Technology that leads to an improvement in process and transactional material frees up practitioners to become more strategic in the business. “But it is the adoption of that technology that is quite difficult. The important thing to achieve productivity is to align employees with the strategy of the business,” McKerrell continues. “If employees are not aware of the core direction and strategy of the business, they are not engaged and are simply going about their daily tasks. If technology can be used to link employees and the business strategy, productivity can be increased across the board.”
Any changes will be felt immediately and often long afterwards says McKerrell and it is for this reason that a change management strategy is important and will help to make information visible to enhance bilateral and bi-directional communication. “This will result in a win-win situation for everyone.”
CRS Technologies can be found here: http://www.crs.co.za/about-us/