Famously, the UK has an output problem. In 2014 – the last complete year for which a figure is available - output per hour worked in the UK was a full 18 percentage points below the average for the remaining six members of the G7 group of industrial nations.
The reasons behind this are complex, but it is clearly in the interests of UK businesses to pick the low hanging fruit in terms of improving productivity and output. IT is one of those fruit; these days almost every business is reliant on technology. Without reliable, safe and secure IT infrastructure, you can’t possibly get the most of your employees.
At a time when the economy faces renewed uncertainty following the Brexit vote, this is the last thing anyone wants. If IT issues mean that employees can only work at 90% capacity when they are out of the office, the costs to a business are huge.
Delivering a seamless IT user experience for your employees will enable them to perform to the best of their abilities. This requires a holistic approach, involving four key elements:
- Keep your end users happy
Your end users are happiest (and therefore most productive) when everything is kept simple for them, and they can concentrate on doing a good job. At its most basic, that means that when they turn on their device, they want everything to look and feel the same, whether they are in the office, working from home or out of the road.
In other words, they just want things to be as easy and non-disruptive as possible!
- Keep your applications happy
If you want your applications to run as intended – and therefore maximise productivity - your storage and servers need to be up to the job.
As software becomes more sophisticated, and employees want to use increasing numbers of additional apps, the demands placed on networks are bigger than ever. This is particularly the case if you are running analytics and using tools such as Apache Hadoop to work with large data sets.
If your network isn’t up to the job, you risk compromising the performance of your apps.
The aim of the game is to minimise latency (meaning delays or interference) in your network.
The ability to get insights into your network is vital. Productivity is increased when you are able to analyse your network and provide real-time information to those who need it. That visibility can be provided by powerful tools that can highlight problems as they occur.
- Make sure your connection is fast enough
This one is simple. Speed is one of the core parameters of your network, and has a clear link to productivity. If you want to know how you could increase the speed of your network, a network health check could be a good idea.
40GB networks are ample for most businesses, but even faster set-ups are available if required.
- Make sure everything is safe
Safety is an essential part of productivity. Cyberattacks that take down systems or disrupt service pose serious risks to business continuity, as we have previously written about. The Cyber Threat Alliance estimates that the criminals behind last year’s CryptoWall3 malware not only severely reduced productivity, but cost victims more than $325m. The expected gains from 2016’s malware is expected to be even higher.
The answer is to implement a next generation solution which automatically detects and deals with cyberattacks - but preventing malware execution in the first place should always be the first step. End users need to be educated through security awareness training, so that they are aware of what potential phishing emails and downloads on compromised sites might look like.
In today’s world, employees increasingly work from a variety of locations, usually using a variety of devices. They want to be able to work where they want, when they want, and access apps and the company server at the same speed as if there were in the office. Location and time of day are becoming less and less relevant, and the expectation is of a seamless experience. If you can deliver that, you will maximise your productivity.
If you are unsure about the effectiveness of your infrastructure, you should consider a health check to see if there are areas for improvement. Click below to find out more: