Does technology help or hinder productivity & performance?
There are two basic schools of thought on this issues – though, as ever, these are not straightforward
The first is that the introduction of technology can transform processes for the better, improving both quality and productivity. Of course, this school of thought is largely promulgated by suppliers of the technology, keen to sell a positive message about their products. The evidence is not so clear. We all know organisations that have ‘automated’ their processes using technology – but then found that they have automated their inefficient or unreliable processes, so that their key outcome is that they can now make mistakes and errors faster.
The second major school of thought, however, is that the introduction of many modern technologies – such as email and other forms of messaging – simply results in high levels of distraction for employees.
The truth is, of course, either somewhere in the middle – or, more likely, a combination of the two schools – some technology-based projects result in positive productivity gains; some do not. It depends on how such projects are implemented – and whether the introduction of the technology is a part of an overall strategy, clearly linked to the overall vision of the organisation and its strategic objectives.