Do we have a productivity problem?

(My first blog post ever)

There have been a number of reports suggesting that productivity has been in decline in Australia and that this is seen as a worrying sign. Although productivity is relatively easy to measure I’m not so sure that it is necessarily the best metric for judging the performance of Australian businesses. To me it is much more important to look at the effectiveness of what we do rather than the efficiency of how we do it. As Australian businesses take on an ever increasing knowledge focus, the ‘what’ of business is becoming increasingly important relative to the ‘how’. That is why when talking to clients about the value of the Mobial: Me training I describe increased productivity as being a low value benefit and improved decision making as a high value benefit.

This is not to say that measuring productivity is not important.  Many of my clients undertake the training because of the 4-5 hours they can save every week by using technology more effectively, it is a measurable gain that can be translated into actual dollars (the role of tablets in providing productivity gains has also been documented in publications such as The Australian). My point is that looking at productivity in the absence of effectiveness is like watching the speedometer without looking at the roadmap. You can end up going really fast in completely the wrong direction.

Personally I think that the effective use of tablets can provide both a effectiveness AND a productivity boost. They provide users with better internal information, a more detailed understanding of the operating environment and also reduce time associated with low value activities. Perhaps this is why Gartner lists tablets as one of the 10 disruptive technologies for business in 2012.

One Comment on “Do we have a productivity problem?

  1. Well there 8 bit Simon, apart from the slightly cringe worthy title I largely still agree with the sentiment of your post about effectiveness vs efficiency. Productivity is a challenging concept when it comes to knowledge and creative work.

    But if we’re been frank with each other the narrow pitch towards tablets and mobile technology being the ‘answer’ is a little simplistic. And most organisations won’t get to the cloud for another five years or more so that’s going to be a challenge as well.

    Anyway, keep up the good work, I’ll see you in eight years or so

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