Boosting productivity by adopting new ways of working

Digital transformation must be a priority if UK businesses are to survive in a cloud-first world.

As the UK enters an uncertain economic future, the issue of falling productivity is once again centre stage. Since the 2008 financial crisis, studies measuring how much output is produced per hour or worker have been constant disappointments when compared to the country’s global counterparts. According to the latest reports from the Office of National Statistics, UK productivity rose by 0.4% between July and September 2016. However, this figure is still far below the 2.1% average being achieved before 2008. In response, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans to launch a national industrial strategy aimed at creating a prosperous post-Brexit Britain through the development of STEM skills investments in science and innovation, and infrastructure upgrades across every sector and in every corner of the country. 

With this plan the UK government has sent a clear signal: organisations of every size and within every industry must prioritise digital transformation if they are to succeed in a cloud-first world. Forward thinking businesses have already adopted the use of cloud-based apps and services in order to boost employee productivity. As the number of tools and technologies employees use in the office continues to increase, organisations are starting to witness a change in how people work. With more organisations investing in the latest technologies, the UK might be on its way to overcoming tech-related productivity slumps.

Mastering productivity with choice 

Okta’s latest Businesses @ Work report reveals the apps that UK organisations are adopting to get work done. According to the data, 38.7% of Okta’s UK customers use Microsoft Office 365, making it far and away the most popular cloud app in the UK. In contrast, only 13.8% are using G Suite. But the minority — the companies using G Suite — are more likely to select newer, more innovative apps as they build out their cloud ecosystems. This begs the question: are Office 365 customers missing out on the latest and greatest cloud apps? Okta’s data suggests, in many cases, they are. 

According to Okta’s data, G Suite customers tend to use more cloud apps (29) than Office 365 customers, who use an average of just 22. This is in part due to the way in which Microsoft builds its stack, bundling multiple products together – including Dynamics CRM, Yammer, Skype, Azure, and OneDrive for Business, which customers can access via the single Office 365 app. Thus, users’ app count is reduced, as is the scope for innovation and choice. This is the case in the UK more than the US, where the reliance on O365 is even higher. 

G Suite customers are also more likely to select more best-of-breed apps as they build out their cloud ecosystems, and tend to adopt applications that are more customisable in nature. 56% of G Suite customers are using Amazon Web Services, 50% use Salesforce, 39% use JIRA, and 33% use Slack, compared to Office 365 customers — just 14% of O365 customers are using Amazon Web Services, 37% use Salesforce, 9% use JIRA and only 17% use Slack. Office 365 customers are more likely than G Suite customers to adopt established apps like Box (36% vs. 17%) and Mimecast (14% vs. 6%). 

Building the future for the UK workplace 

Studies show  that businesses adopting cloud technologies are more likely to grow faster and generate more revenue, achieve 26% higher profits than their competitors. That’s promising for the UK, as British organisations are quickly adopting multiple apps and services to build the future world of work – ranging from software development, to office infrastructure, collaboration, social media and email – supporting both the worker and the customer experience in the process.    

Not only are employees at UK organisations using more enterprise apps, but they’re using more personal apps to be productive at work. This year, Okta saw the lines between work and personal identities are blurring. Data shows 56% of apps used by its customers are not provided by IT, which is up from 48% last year. LinkedIn, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter and PayPal lead the pack of those personal apps. 

While the increasing use of personal apps and devices at work used to be a major corporate battleground, organisations are now starting to embrace a more employee-friendly approach. They are facilitating secure employee access to all apps, both corporate and personal, and many are encouraging the use of any apps that will help employee productivity. 

The key to effective digital transformation 

Within the new world of cloud and mobile, organisations in every industry – and in every country – need to consider a digital transformation in order to stay competitive and address the challenge of productivity. By embracing the cloud and all it has to offer, they will find new ways to increase productivity, communicate with their staff and engage with their customers and partners. However, when every device and app that connects to the cloud has an individual account attached to it, the need for companies to ensure they can control the flow of data is amplified. As organisations adopt new technologies to grow their business across new lines and different regions, many must ask themselves, “how should we go about building and managing these new connections?” Thus, the issue of identity comes to the forefront. 

Increased adoption of cloud technologies, paired with effective identity management, will enable UK organisations to improve customer experience, generate new revenue and strengthen security. In order to become truly digital, businesses will need a foundation for secure connections between people and technology — whether those people are employees, contractors, partners or suppliers, and no matter what kind of technology they’re using at work. Once organisations achieve this, they will have the capability to capture opportunities that will help drive digital business growth — ultimately becoming technology companies in their own right, boosting their productivity and that of their country as a whole. 

Phil Turner, VP EMEA, Okta 

Image Credit: Chombosan / Shutterstock

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Turner is the Vice President of Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Okta. He is responsible for building and managing a dynamic local team to enable Okta's expansion plans in Europe. Prior to Okta, Phil served as the EMEA Sales Director at Nimble Storage, the Backup and Recovery Solutions division country manager for the United Kingdom and Ireland at EMC, and the EMEA Regional Director at Acopia Networks.