User productivity: Achievable goal, or mission impossible?

Productivity and how to improve it is a discussion topic that simply isn't going away. Despite what vendor marketing hype may lead us to believe, end user productivity issues are by no means a thing of the past.

Plenty of technology solutions exist to support productivity, even if the claims for their efficacy at times border on the miraculous.

So why is it that we're still struggling with this issue? It may be because the technologies that are available aren't being deployed. Or, because they're not used to best effect. The plethora of products and services in itself may be part of the problem.

Let's start with a snapshot of how productivity is viewed today and how well organisations are doing. We surveyed 357 IT professionals and as can be seen from the responses summarised in the chart below, there is a high degree of consensus regarding the key elements of productivity.

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It's equally clear, though, that a recognition of what's important doesn't equate to what organisations have actually been able to achieve.

We also asked respondents about their use of technology in the context of productivity; we excluded standard office software such as email, word processing and spread sheets, as these tend to be almost universally available in today's business environment. The picture that emerged is somewhat mixed.