Productivity may have increased at last, but IT still needs to be more dynamic in keeping up with the pace of change.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics in late February have revealed that UK productivity in the final two quarters of 2017 saw its strongest growth since the financial crisis of 2008, marking a positive change from the doom and gloom that has permeated productivity reports for the last few years. However, according to storage and data management firm NetApp and IT managed services provider EACS, the IT departments underpinning the activities of businesses need to do more to be dynamic and innovative if this productivity growth is to be sustained.
Speaking at EACS’ Optimise IT event, Matt Watts, EMEA Data Strategist & Director of Technology at NetApp, discussed the unprecedented pace of change in modern life.
He said: “Technology changes happen at breakneck speed, and life is lived at a much faster pace than it used to be. People expect to be able to do their jobs or experience leisure activities with minimum hassle, and insist on information being at their fingertips at all times. Companies understanding and embracing these expectations will be essential to reducing the UK’s struggles with productivity.
“Technology has brought a wide range of benefits in terms of our ability to access information and carry out our daily activities in an efficient manner. While there are a huge amount of of positives to take from this, this pace of change places significant demands on IT and the organisations that it supports. Continuing evolution in the IT department is essential if organisations want to truly meet these demands.”
Kevin Timms, CEO of EACS, added: “It’s always a promising sign to see productivity grow, especially in a country that has lagged behind its contemporaries abroad for some time. However, it’s important that we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves at this stage. As a key driver of technological growth and improvement, IT departments need to put comprehensive strategies in place to ensure that this momentum is maintained, and that the organisations they support are able to be agile in the face of rapid change.”
For Timms, IT needs to evolve and develop in a way that has efficiency, dynamism and innovation at its heart, with strategies created that have the wider goals of the business in mind. This will help IT departments move beyond a situation where they are simply focused on keeping the wheels turning at a company, to a point where they are providing valuable insight on how the business should be run.
Timms said: “It’s no longer sufficient for IT departments to focus solely on tasks that simply maintain the technological status quo at an organisation. If this productivity growth is to continue and businesses are to keep up with the demands of our always-on society, IT needs to play a major part. Essentially, it’s about IT leaders using their technology expertise to come up with new, innovative ways of doing things: this could be finding ways to automate cumbersome internal processes, streamlining time-consuming practices, or empowering staff at the front end of a business to serve their customers more efficiently.”
He concluded: “In such challenging times, the companies that embrace innovation will be the ones that come out on top. IT has to be front and centre in this process, so IT leaders need to do everything in their power to ensure that they are fully involved in decisions that define the activities and successes of the wider business.”