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Businesses Blog

Digital productivity

3rd May 2016

Digital Productivity

Businesses need to understand how we can make better use of the time, resources, skills and opportunities available to us now and over the years ahead. Improving productivity is a challenge for UK business as a whole too, and in order to maintain our competitive position against the global marketplace it needs to improve dramatically. The most recent Headline Economic Indicators for the South West indicate that labour productivity per hour in Devon is £25.30 compared to the UK average of £30.10.

And this productivity divide becomes more apparent in the digital dimensions of our businesses, where global teams, systems and processes are readily available for us (and our competitors) to exploit.

So how can we review productivity when it comes to the use of digital systems and platforms?

A good place to start is to list or map systems currently used in your business – for example the checklist below gives you a place to consider the most common ones.

  • Are we already using a system? Is it internally hosted, or do you have a cloud-based system which may improve performance and management of the system? 
  • Is there an app for this system to increase its use and access? And reduce visits to the office or paper handling.
  • What progress can you make in ensuring compatibility between these systems, sharing data across from one to the others? Avoiding duplication of entries and errors.
  • Have you trained staff in using the systems effectively and collaboratively?
  • Most importantly of course – what are the best solutions for your customers, to ensure they receive a seamless service? And how can they interface with your business to make their lives easier?
  • Review your current business systems –check if you’re using the best solutions for your business?
  • How recently have you reviewed and compared different software and app solutions now available?

Digital Productivity

Below are just some examples of productivity software and apps now commonly used in business:

  • Finance management: Sage, Quickbooks, Xero, Kashflow 
  • Banking – Ping, Paypal, bank branded apps, Apple Pay
  • Customer Management (CRM): Zoho, Capsule, Act, SalesForce
  • Time-recording: Harvest, Toggl
  • HR – PeopleHR, BreatheHR, My HR Toolkit
  • Project Management: BaseCamp, Trello, Acunote, Smartsheets

Businesses which are addressing the digitisation of core business systems and embracing mobile apps and input from wider team members are making significant savings in time spent on administrative level tasks (and therefore money too!). But more than that, good productivity levels and use of digital processes and systems also builds a business which can better use both time and information to generate improvement in service, products and customer experience. What better reason to embrace digital can there be?

Now let’s consider the future; to a time when robotics will take over some of more of the office processes and functions, the delivery of some services, as well as continuing to grow in their roles in manufacturing.

How will your business embrace these opportunities?

Humans vs Robots

Many business people currently seem to have the attitude that this is all too distant in time and therefore the risks of ignoring these developments are not high enough to justify investment of time and money. Wrong!

If we don’t start (now) to work out which parts of our business can definitely be embraced by emerging and ever-improving digital technologies, then we might just miss the trick in focussing on those parts of the business which needs a human approach. And these are the parts of our businesses which will provide our unique-selling-points, and competitive advantage in the future. Using digital developments and their advantage in order to provide a more human quality and support in our businesses.

For more details on the need for improved Digital Leadership – please read our recently published White Paper which you can access here.

Sign up now to one of Cosmic’s Digital Leadership taster courses running this year – more details here.