Technology trumps ‘more meeting rooms’ for workplace productivity boost, finds new BT research

Mar 15, 2018


Nine out of ten executives and IT decision makers agree that mobile tools and collaboration services are improving productivity in the workplace.

Businesses that invest in digital technologies for their employees are being rewarded with a boost in productivity. That’s the key finding of a new report published today by BT, People, productivity and the digital workplace — 2018.

The report, based on a survey of 1,100 business executives and 600 IT decision makers (ITDMs) in 11 territories across the world (including Ireland), found the vast majority (nine out of ten) of respondents agree that mobile tools and collaboration services are improving productivity in the workplace. In Ireland, 94 per cent reported greater productivity as a result of improving digital employee experiences.

The Irish Digital and Productivity Gap

Greater productivity is a goal for many digital transformation programmes and it has the support of employees. However, the report found that only 20 per cent of Irish executives would describe their current digital experience at work as ‘excellent’. A majority (79 per cent) said that if they were CEO, boosting productivity would be their priority (up from just 57 per cent in 2015). Ninety one per cent of executives also highlighted security as a growing concern over the last two years.

The report suggests that there are five simple building blocks to better employee productivity: a more connected, video led workspace; easier working and collaboration away from the office; corporate apps, instant messaging services and better devices.

When asked what would help employees in Ireland work effectively at the office, 65 per cent of executives said “better wi-fi” compared with just 30 per cent who said “more meeting rooms”. Forty seven per cent said “interactive smart collaboration screens” and 22 per cent said “video rooms”.

The report indicates that IT departments are keen to make the required improvements, but increasingly need help.

Seventy one per cent of Irish executives said “they would rather their IT department invested in better technology for use when on the move than at work” compared to a global average of 57 per cent. When it came to tools that made Irish employees more productive, half (50 per cent) of Irish executives used Instant Messaging (IM) over email.

Eighty two per cent of Irish ITDMs said that “employees often don’t understand how difficult it is to make our IT work effectively”, compared to the global average of 76 per cent. They feel that delivering a more digital experience for employees is piling even more demands onto their already long “to do” list. For example, 69 per cent of ITDMs said that their video conferencing needs updating versus a global average of 50 per cent. Fifty-nine per cent of Irish ITDMs said they need to build mobile apps so employees can use internal business systems and processes wherever they are, compared the global average of 66 per cent. Converging voice and data systems — the technology buzz of a decade ago — is still not a reality. Six out of ten ITDMs said that they are still at the planning stage for “convergence” — a first crucial first step in the digital transformation of their business.

ITDMs are prioritising investments in cloud to support their collaboration and mobile services. Fifty nine per cent said they want to move all applications to the cloud. Despite this 63 per cent had not yet moved all of their collaboration tools to the cloud. In fact 28 per cent said they have separate platforms for the contact centre, and voice/unified communications, compared to the global average of 58 per cent.

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