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Small Business and IT Consulting: Just Make My Life Easier


If you know me you know I like to talk about how to correlate the End User Experience with improved productivityfalse

June 2013

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If you know me you know I like to talk about how to correlate the End User Experience with improved productivity for a business by measuring and improving the end user experience.  That is me.  That is my soap box as an IT consulting firm focused on small and large enterprises.  Let me tell you, I’m big fun at parties.

Today that message got a significant boost from a study conducted by YouGov of 1,250 small businesses across North America, Europe and Australia

One in five small businesses are achieving productivity gains of AT LEAST 30% by adopting mobile work styles that let people work whenever, wherever and however they choose. 

it consulting houston In my head I hear employees saying:

 “Let me work in a way that makes sense for me, and I will be 30% more productive.”

If I am slapping on my IT consulting hat I might say, "Improving your end user experience in a meaningful way can buy you the productivity of one full time employee for every three employees you have today.”

Your staff of 30 could perform like a staff of 40 if you get the “experience” right without one more dollar going to payroll, benefits, or taxes.

That is a powerful statistic, but reading this the first time, I really found myself wanting to pop the hood on this survey and see what the drivers were for these comments. 

From an IT consulting perspective, we have to drill deeper and sort fact from fiction.  Business owners don’t just wake up one day and decide to build a mobile environment or radically alter the work experience.  There has to be an underlying motivator compelling these small businesses to find the budget and resources necessary to go down this road.  How did these small business owners get here?

The survey results point to the importance of using mobility and collaboration technologies to create and empower more responsive organizations.  Mobile, it seems, has moved beyond a conversation about devices to a larger conversation about how we are changing the very definition of how and what we call work.it consulting houston 2

These five points seem to sum up the small businesses perspective.

Small businesses believe a mobile strategy can help address seasonal business changes

“With almost one third (32%) of small businesses respondents stating they experience a drop in productivity during the summer, 41% believe that offering a mobile strategy would reduce the impact this has on the business.”  The same could be said about winter in some climates.

The greatest driving force for work style change comes from the employee

“29% respondents cited employees provide the greatest pressure for change, outweighing any external drivers including budget, productivity or competitive advantages.”

Personal Devices used for Business are Becoming Commonplace.

“59% of decision-makers stated their staff already uses their personal communications devices for business purposes, most evident in the U.S. (68%) and Canada (65%), compared to only 47% in the UK”

I find this one very interesting from an IT consulting perspective because we spend more than a fair amount of time working with companies to secure data and keep personal devices out or at least off the network.  At 68% in the United States already, this can of worms may not be able to be closed again.

Small businesses believe social collaboration can benefit productivity

“45% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that social collaboration tools make meetings more productive, rising to 63% in France. This could reflect the French government’s current digital drive, with French small and medium businesses in particular recognizing that these tools enable teams on the move to save time and work more efficiently.”

it consulting houston 3The #1 overall driver was:  Making Life Easier.

“55% stated that the strongest driver for combined business and personal use of their devices is that it makes employees’ lives easier. This reflects the drive by individuals to achieve more efficiency managing both their professional and personal lives as the distinction between work and social environment becomes blurred.”

Overall, the survey points out a significant shift that has occurred in our thought process since this survey was conducted in 2011.  Today we have more ways to connect; we have better collaboration tools and new devices that let us as people begin to change the conversation about work.

The previous conversation followed a single thread.  What can I do to make my end user more productive?  The answer was better phones, headsets, ergonomic chairs and efficiently designed workspaces, etc. 

Now the right question has more dimensions. 

What is the optimal location, device, and time for my employee to be as productive as possible right now?

Based on this survey, 80% of small businesses have not changed the questions they are asking related to employee productivity, however for the 20% of small business that are, productivity is skyrocketing.

Reference: http://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/jun-2013/global-research-shows-mobilizing-your-small-business-creates-competitive-edge.html  

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