Do more with less: One way to fix Australia's poor productivity

Businesses can increase productivity by improving the efficiency of their existing infrastructure. But how do you know which areas need to be improved and what can be streamlined easily?

Aside from the occasional unnecessary meeting or overworked report, you probably consider your organisation to be a productive place. Unfortunately, the numbers suggest otherwise. In fact, the most recent report from Australia’s Productivity Commission found that our productivity performance ranked significantly worse than most other developed economies.

Australia has also dropped six places over the last four years in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness ranking, coming in 21st place this year.

Productivity is a key indicator of long-term economic growth and competitiveness and not surprisingly, within business, it has a strong link to IT investment. A study by the Centre for Economic and Business Research has shown that since the 1970s, technology has increased the efficiency of office workers by 84 per cent. However, this investment should not be limited to purchasing new devices.

Businesses can increase productivity by improving the efficiency of their existing infrastructure. But how do you know which areas need to be improved and which components can most easily be streamlined? That’s where monitoring plays a critical role.

For instance, a network monitoring tool can identify bottlenecks that could be slowing down your network or, if left unchecked, grind it to a halt. Another common problem is underperforming devices – such as an overloaded server. A network monitoring tool can analyse the available bandwidth and maximise data usage, allowing organisations to optimise their IT infrastructure. In effect, it is possible to do more without having to invest in new hardware.

Eventually, all businesses reach a stage where they have to invest in their IT to expand. To grow sustainably, businesses need to identify the technologies that will deliver maximum productivity boosts, and understand how they can best integrate them into their network. When a company invests in new tools, it expects them to deliver tangible results straight away. The onus is on the IT professional to make this happen. With a network monitor in their arsenal, potential snags and teething issues can be overcome, so that the value of new hardware is seen quickly.

Of course, it’s not just hardware that requires meticulous monitoring. More organisations are also making use of office productivity applications, especially business process management (BPM) software. WinterGreen Research predicts the $3.4 billion worldwide market will be worth over $10 billion by 2020 as more and more businesses see BPM as an opportunity to drive down costs and improve agility. With increased dependence on these tools comes increased responsibility on IT departments to keep close tabs on IT infrastructure.

Looking to the future, innovations in IT hold some exciting prospects. The Internet of Things (IoT) promises great productivity gains by offering speedier communications and increased automation. The opportunities are there for the taking, but careful management of the networks on which they will depend is critical if businesses are to take full advantage.  Network monitoring will play a vital role in helping detect faults before they have an opportunity to impact performance.   

As networks become ever more complicated and interdependent, monitoring will become ever more crucial.

With the up-to-date information that network monitoring provides, IT professionals will be well placed to ensure businesses see a strong return on investment in new technology and experience increased productivity.  

Andrew Timms is channel nanager, ANZ for network monitoring company Paessler.

Related Articles