3 ways businesses are struggling with productivity solutions

"Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before."

Franz Kafka said that, and for businesses who have succeeded in this area, it's a wonderful reality. For those who are still chasing the elusive goal of productivity, it's either still a dream, or slowly becoming a nightmare. 

Thankfully, there are a number of lessons still to be learned, so businesses still finding their way have plenty of opportunity to exercise productivity solutions. Here are three areas where companies often make errors, along with solutions to ensure your business stays productive.

1. Inefficient use of data

Big data is both a blessing and a curse for some businesses. While there is now a significant increase in the amount of information businesses have with which to base decisions, there is also more to get lost in. 

This problem is exacerbated when employees don't collaborate, leading to them working in silos and sacrificing productivity. 

Recent research produced by International Data Corporation (IDC) and Commvault found this problem was particularly noticeable in the Asia-Pacific region, demanding careful management by chief information officers (CIOs). 

So far, only a small percentage of respondents are acknowledging the effects this can have within a business. According to the survey, only 16 per cent believe data silos are impacting collaborative work practices and consequently, productivity. This is despite just over a third (34 per cent) of those surveyed acknowledging there is an inherent security risk in the silo approach. 

Commvault's Area Vice President for Australia and New Zealand Bryan Stibbard says productivity issues stem directly from the oversights in these areas. 

"CIOs around the world face a common problem: their data management silos are creating bottlenecks that result in missed opportunities and prevent organisations from achieving the full value of their data as a powerful, strategic asset," he said. 

2. Succumbing to compliance pressures

Whether companies like it or not, there's always going to be compliance procedures that will take up time and financial resources. The key is to find ways to integrate them smoothly into operating practices, either with recruitment software to speed up the hiring process or by dividing work up between more staff.

For businesses feeling like they are struggling with the pressures of tax compliance, the good news is that they are not alone, with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reporting this is creating issues for a number of CEOs worldwide. 

Almost two-thirds of the surveyed CEOs see tax as inhibiting their ability to grow their companies, a number that is up on the figure of 57 per cent in 2013. 

PwC advises concerned CEOs to review their company's tax processes to ensure that it is up to modern standards and focuses in communication in particular. 

3. Shying away from innovation

This is a challenging one for a lot businesses, as innovation can often involve redirecting resources away from usual operating procedures to research and development. However, in the long run this can increase productivity, a trend currently being observed in the UK.

According to the Engineering Employers' Federation (EEF), this trend is saving the manufacturing sector from experiencing the same decreases in productivity felt by the rest of businesses in the UK. 

This is because the manufacturing sector has research and development rates that are nearly six times higher than their proportional share of the economy, allowing them to maintain higher productivity rates.

Overall, businesses looking to increase productivity need to review all operating procedures to find missed opportunities for growth and innovation to ensure their employees are working at their peak. 

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