The recent labour productivity figures revealed that the worrying trend of the UK’s falling productivity continues, with output per hour dropping by 1.2 per cent from the third to the fourth calendar quarter of 2015. A considerable blight on the economy, the gap between the UK and the other members of the G7 group of industrial nations is at its greatest since the modern records first started in the early 1990s.
With unemployment continuing to fall – indeed, the unemployment rate recently fell to its lowest in nearly a decade – government, policy makers, and business leaders are all looking at how they can get more output from their current employees to help reduce the productivity gap.
Labelled 'the economic challenge of our age' by Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, last year, the government introduced a combination of government intervention and deregulation to tackle the UK’s poor performance. Ranging from apprenticeships, universities and skills, to transport and finance, the government addressed a number of different potential contributing factors.
A digital solution to the productivity problem
One key element that wasn’t explored was the role that technology and IT can contribute to productivity. With innumerable software solutions claiming to improve employee efficiency and boost productivity, there is little question that the tools that businesses deploy day-to-day can help make staff more productive.
However, while many of these business applications have the potential to help employees work more effectively, ensuring that these applications are responding quickly enough to meet user demands with the ever-growing wealth of data that businesses are capturing is a significant challenge.
Indeed, IT and access to data has been cited as significantly hampering the ability for workers to achieve their full potential in many professional occupations. Our research found that nearly two-thirds of Brits believe the speed of the applications they use at work significantly impacts their ability to perform.
While the time wasted is often discredited as mere seconds, the time quickly adds up. With the research indicating that the average employee experiences four software caused delays per work day, each lasting around 7 seconds, measured against the average hourly wage in the UK, the cost of this lost time to the British economy amounts to an incredible £744,235,520 every year.
Productive to the core
Before businesses can expect their employees to perform better using new business applications, it’s important that the core of their IT infrastructure is operating productively to supply the necessary data. And as organisations of all sizes look to new digital projects and processes to modernise and transform their business offering, ensuring that the data delivery to business applications is rapid and uninterrupted will be essential to a successful deployment.
Indeed, when the delivery of data to an applications is disrupted, the gap it creates has a negative impact on the user experience, the business outcome, and ultimately hinders effectiveness of that business.
And while this app-data gap is frequently perceived as a storage issue, in more than half of cases that we examined, the application breakdowns stemmed from complex IT infrastructures, creating the app-data gap which resulted in disrupted data delivery and slow, stuttering business applications.
Looking to new technologies, including flash-optimised architecture and predictive analytics, can help businesses anticipate and remediate complex infrastructure issues before they arise. It will also enable IT administrators to gain a longer-term perspective when planning their storage capacity and performance.
In making its IT infrastructure more productive, organisations support their workers in becoming more efficient and effective at work. With 42 per cent of IT decision makers estimating that they waste between 10-30 minutes a day on application response delays, leaving the app-data gap unplugged can have a significant effect on a business’s output.
It is, therefore, essential to look to the heart of an organisation’s digital processes and ensure that it is managed to support optimal productivity. By ensuring that the data delivery to applications is rapid and undisrupted, the impact on the employee output and the company’s bottom line could be startling.
Paul Scarrott, director EMEA at Nimble Storage
Image Credit: Shutterstock/woaiss