The intensely competitive business landscape demands enterprises to be on their toes, constantly being productive and useful for the market. Being successful today involves bringing together the varied elements of the business arena- people, process, technology, information and so on, to extract the best possible value for the customer. Enterprise Productivity is thus being redefined, in accordance with these changing times, today it is more about collaborative efforts to drive a culture of connect and innovation.
In other words, social collaboration is the new-age formula for boosting enterprise productivity.
The new age meaning of enterprise productivity
Technology is fast advancing and leaving its footprint on the productivity paradigms of the modern workforce. Gartner has outlined four mega trends- social, mobile, cloud and data that are changing the very nature of work. This is the digital era, and the workforce is also becoming increasingly digital-savvy, especially with millennials joining the workforce in large numbers. The values of collaboration, communication, flexibility, and connectedness are inputs for productivity, both at the individual and organizational level. It is important that organizations embrace and enable these values in their people, by building a culture of tech-friendliness and high performance.
We see that enterprise productivity is mirroring personal productivity like never before. Most people today are hooked on to their devices, carrying out tasks and interactions on-the-go, at the tap of a button. For example, placing a call overseas has now transitioned from a pain-staking international call to just a single tap on WhatsApp or Skype. Or, we generate content all by ourselves using our smartphone cameras, polish it using online photo-editing tools and post it to our social forums for the world to see, all in a matter of seconds! If such high levels of connection are possible in our personal lives, why do we lack such fluidic means in the enterprise? Organizations are seen complaining of siloed operations. They should continue such productivity-killers at their own peril. It is high time we replicate our personal technology models at the workplace, and give our work selves and organizations, the much-needed productivity boost. Here’s how.
How to boost enterprise productivity: The right tools
Move over legacy systems, today the market is flooded with a host of enterprise productivity tools that help manage information, collaboration and communication. These tools operate across channels, be it desktops, mobile phones or tablets, to ensure the best user experience. “Anytime” and “Anywhere” is their foundation, they are designed for the contemporary high performer who is “always on” and highly mobile. What’s more, service providers are now offering these tools as easy-to-install software or software-as-a-service (SaaS), available at low initial costs and flexible pay models. It is just about choosing the right tools after carefully scrutinizing your business needs and possible benefit. Consider the following tools to pave your path to productivity.
1. Get the latest in Office Suites: An Office Suite covers the basics of business- from budgeting tools to documentation to presentations. While you may already have a suite, revisit its relevance, check for the latest upgrades and offerings- stay updated! The modern slew of Office Suites is built not just for “getting work done”, but getting it done in an agile, responsive, and mobile-friendly manner. Move beyond the essentials (a word processor, a spreadsheet application, presentation builder, email client etc.) and think in-team and cross-team collaboration. Incorporate functionalities such as document sharing, instant messaging, mobile enablement, online support and cloud friendly. Office 365, OpenOffice, and Google Apps for Work are useful Suites.
2. Curate content correctly through Enterprise Content Management (ECM): A data deluge is a very real problem, and leaders often find themselves unable to refer to the right information for the right decisions. Or customers are bombarded with so much content messaging, that marketers find it difficult to stand out and leave an impression. The answer to these problems is to curate your content carefully using a content management tool. It allows better search ability and quality control for enterprise content such as documents, images, web, records etc. Look for a cloud-based ECM tool for flexible management of content. Popular ones to consider are Office 365, Alfresco One, DocPoint and M-Files etc.
3. Communicate live, through web conferencing: Virtual ways of working enhance productivity significantly, not only within the organization, but also with partners, vendors, customers and other stakeholders. Web conferencing is a must-have tool since it allows participants to share screens, send documents, record meetings and other collaborative features. Make sure you choose the tools that can integrate with your existing email and calendar client to help in scheduling. A number of applications such as e-training, webinars, live video podcasts, technical support and even team bonding can happen over web conferencing. ClickMeeting, WebEx and GoToMeeting are some of the popular ones to consider.
4. Up productivity through project management tools: Task, resource and financial management for projects across teams and functions can be a huge deal. Make the process efficient, effective and collaborative by turning to project management tools such as Microsoft Project Pro for Office 365, Clarizen, EPM Live, Celoxis. When making a selection, look for features such as strong email integration, mobile and cloud connectivity, analytics and reporting capabilities and predictive metrics.
5. Embrace social with Enterprise Social Software (ESS): Sharing is the first step to collaboration and what better way to share than going social? An ESS is your go-to software to foster a culture of sharing and break down the functional silos. ESS goes beyond mere email and enables two-way continuous flow through micro-blogs, profiles, wikis, tagging, feeds and other social mechanisms. Select from a range of platforms such as Yammer, SocialEngine, Dolphin, eXo Platform and others.
6. Boost ideation through Innovation Management: An important arm of productivity is innovation. Capturing and crowdsourcing ideas through campaigns, assessing them and building innovation communities is a must to be productive. Knowledge management tools are a good way to spark a culture of innovation. Be sure to consider the likes of Brightidea, Hype Innovation and IdeaScale to boost your intellectual productivity.
Make sure all your productivity tools integrate well with each other; disparity in software can be the single biggest hindrance to enterprise productivity. Being productive is both a process and a people intervention and your business leaders must drive it correctly. This means that alongside revamping the processes and tools, you must realign your people with the new productivity paradigm. Build the right culture and readiness to help your employees embrace this renewed performance- outlook. If required, reskill them to leverage these tools well. Done carefully and with attention, you will see a boost in personal productivity and engagement, leading to a multifold boost in your enterprise productivity.