Is Tech Making Productivity Better or Worse?

Oct 29, 2021 2:48:36 PM

If you’ve ever cursed your inbox chock-full of emails or felt the bite of your corporate servers being overloaded, you may have wondered if tech helps or hinders productivity.

We take a look at both sides of the coin here and offer tips for making the adoption of new tech successful and, most importantly, fruitful.


In this article we'll cover:

  1. The Argument in Favor of Tech
  2. Common Pitfalls in Adopting New Tech
    1. Keeping Up with the Joneses
    2. Too Many Choices
    3. Overreliance on Tech
    4. Loss of Privacy, Security and Control
    5. Confusing Productivity with Busy Work
    6. Creating More Work Not Less
    7. Failure to Evaluate Integration Issues
  3. Building a Business Case When Considering New
    Software
    1. Why is a Business Case Important?
    2. Considerations for New Software Adoption
    3. What are the Quantifiable Benefits?
  4. Improving Productivity with Workflow Automation

The Argument in Favor of Tech

It's clear that tech has made our collective lives better in many ways over the last few decades:

  • We can work anywhere on the planet, whether as part of a permanent work arrangement or when traveling for business.
  • Tech has made us more aware and connected as a planet.

Working from anywhere

  • There is an unparalleled amount of information at our fingertips that would have taken weeks or months to find before computers and the internet.
  • Medical diagnoses and treatments are improving health and extending lives.
  • Data isn’t as vulnerable to natural disasters and other catastrophes with cloud storage.
  • News, entertainment, and financial processes, like filing taxes, are easier and often cheaper.
  • Tasks that required boring, repetitive, and often dangerous labor have been automated, giving businesses opportunities to use workers in other capacities and giving employees more free time.
  • Documents that would previously have been difficult to collect, necessitating long time frames, can now be assembled and stored in minutes, with greater security and less stress.

All these signs point to the fact that tech has improved our overall productivity. 


Common Pitfalls in Adopting New Tech

Taking on new technology isn’t a panacea for every problem, however, and there are multiple downsides that every business needs to consider, regardless of size or industry. Your company may have already experienced one or more of these tech pitfalls, all of which are related directly or indirectly to productivity.

 

Keeping Up with the Joneses

While this is certainly an issue in our personal lives with devices like mobile phones, smart home hubs, and interactive exercise equipment, making others your benchmark for innovation is also problematic in the business world. It can be tempting to adopt every new piece of technology that comes to market, especially if our competitors are using it. There’s a feeling of being behind the curve if you’re not utilizing whatever the latest hot hardware or software is.

You may feel out of touch when pitching potential clients who expect every bidder to have particular tech. At industry conferences and trade shows, it can be almost embarrassing to admit you haven’t latched onto some trend. But buying tech simply to compete with others in your niche is never a good reason for making a purchase. It’s better to make sure the tech in question actually works for your organization (see below) and to let early adopters deal with any bugs before subsequent models are rolled out.

 

Too Many Choices

In today’s world, there’s an almost infinite array of options for us when it comes to technology.

Information overload

This can result in the classic “paralysis by analysis,” where you never get the tech you need because you spend so much time trying to weigh the pros and cons of your choices. By the time you think you’ve made a decision, a whole new menu of selections is available, and the process starts all over again.

 

Overreliance on Tech

Although tech solves many problems for us and brings the globe to our computer screens, it can become as necessary to us as electricity and modern plumbing. Even a simple email failure or website going down can grind business to a halt. We’ve done away with hard copies of many things, from library catalogs to personal calendars. When a device malfunctions or the internet is out, our important resources are gone until operation is restored.

People feel the need to have their mobile phones open in meetings and check emails even when off the job, which also raises issues of forced 24/7 connectedness. This can result in less vital restorative time off, leading to fatigue and work resentment that eventually diminishes productivity.

 

Loss of Privacy, Security and Control

With every new technological advance comes issues related to privacy (for users, employees, clients, etc.), security, and even control (think artificial intelligence). Not addressing these potential problems can result in loss of reputation, penalties, and lawsuits, which tie up both financial and human resources, affecting productivity in the long run.

 

Confusing Productivity with Busy Work

We’ve all been there: we answer dozens of phone calls, read hundreds of emails, and spend the entire day online crawling down this or that rabbit hole. But what did we really accomplish?

Multitasking

Too many people, including those at the C level, can get caught up in confusing productivity with merely being busy. If you think about it, the most productive days you’ve had recently were likely when you were able to shut off distractions and stay off the internet to get significant work done. Research now shows that all our multitasking and “staying connected” is nearly always doing us a disservice and keeping us from the deep work we need to engage in to reach our goals.

 

Creating More Work Not Less

One reason our abundance of tech leads to too much busy work, and less actual productivity, is that it frequently creates even more for us to do in a day, not less. How many times has your business found itself in the following scenario?

You purchase software to handle an aspect of your business that could benefit from more automation. But once you get into the nitty-gritty of installing and implementing it, you discover a host of new needs you hadn’t anticipated – needs that require manpower to resolve, like updating other parts of your system or figuring out how to make the software work with other existing programs.

 

Failure to Evaluate Integration Issues

Forgetting to assess possible integration concerns is a common problem for businesses adopting new tech. They’re so enamored of the potential for the technology that they fail to game out how all the pieces will fit together in the larger scheme of things. This eventually circles back to hardware or software creating more work than they solve, which defeats their purpose.


Building a Business Case When Considering New Software

Purchasing software can be particularly problematic when it comes to integrations and many of the other troubles listed above. Often, there are several cascading issues that prevent businesses and agencies from getting the programs that are truly right for them.

 

Why is a Business Case Important?

To start, many organizations work in the wrong direction when deciding on software. They put the proverbial cart before the horse and decide on tech before identifying why they’re buying it. Instead, it’s essential to come to a consensus about what problem is to be solved with the software and then look for solutions.

Considering options

You must build a business case first that looks at:

  • Current issues that need resolution
  • Causes of the problem
  • Potential solutions, including but not limited to software
  • The dangers of not acting to resolve the problem
  • The cost of applying various possible fixes

 

Considerations for New Software Adoption

If productivity is a key desired outcome, solely increasing revenue with new software is rarely justification for its purchase. Think about other aspects of adopting the tech:

  • Will it reduce errors caused by outdated software or human input?
  • Can you respond to clients more quickly and with greater confidence?
  • How will the software integrate with your current systems, and what kind of IT manpower investment is needed?
  • What kind of security and data protection factors are involved?
  • Will the tech need updating in the future, and how will that affect its use?
  • What is the projected return on investment (ROI)?

 

What are the Quantifiable Benefits?

Return on investment is a quantifiable component, calculated by subtracting the cost of investment from the gain of investment and dividing that number by the cost of the investment. When speaking of productivity ROI, it’s usually calculated using employee hours at their current rate. Be as realistic and accurate as you can, soliciting information from relevant departments and managing objections that arise.


Improving Productivity with Workflow Automation

If the collection of client information is an area where your business is running into productivity issues, you’re not alone. Even with the advent of all the tech at our disposal today, it can be challenging to work with multiple platforms and requires employee hours that would better be spent elsewhere.

You need tools that are fit for purpose and integrate seamlessly with one another.

FileInvite offers automated client information collection solutions for many industries, including banking, mortgage, accounting, legal, and education. You can improve productivity by an average of 35 percent while reducing costs and errors, improving turnaround time, and increasing security and compliance.

We offer: 

  • Bank-grade document collection
  • Tangible increase in team productivity
  • 256-bit encryption
  • Five times the safety of email
  • Fully-featured API
  • User provisioning and team collaboration

To learn more, visit our home page or start your free 14-day trial.

 

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