Office 365 MVP Guest Blog : Thrive with Essentials for Office 365 by Naomi Moneypenny
Information, not the Technology: Setting the Stage for New Ways to Measure Productivity
“Learning to learn faster is the only sustainable competitive advantage.” Arie de Geus in The Living Company once famously coined. Hands down this is my favorite quote, and every day I’m reminded of its wisdom, it’s true in business and it’s true of our careers too. An important aspect of learning that we are not usually mindful of is that learning means there is no change without pain. Learning is hard to quantify and yet infinitely valuable.
We’ve learned successfully in our information technology departments how to deploy new tools to thousands of users, we can plan for change on devices, identify patches and updates that will need to be run alongside, schedule and implement the technical bits and bytes., and yet the barriers these days are nothing to do with technology.
But deploying the technology is a pyrrhic victory. Therein lies the rub with the learning curve, once we really get good at something we realize the real value lies elsewhere and so the journey to climb the next learning curve begins.
This is all true with our productivity tools, once we’ve got Patch Tuesdays, a plethora of cumulative updates and weekend cutovers to new systems down, we realize that provisioning doesn’t actually deliver the value we need to show productivity. And now we are all encouraged to move to the Cloud, where the skills we’ve accrued in deployment seem devalued in the face of the continuous updates and new feature releases. So how do we win in this infinitely elastic, scalable, pay as you go, end user oriented world?
It’s time to look at the information again. But this time the barrier of connectivity is not between users and their systems, it’s between users and the stages and steps in your business processes. Information has to inform a decision, it could be a small decision on how a team decides to collaborate and it could be a multi million investment decision. The productivity tools we deploy via Office 365 are only useful in that they connect us to the information we need, help us to share and communicate that information and also help us to provision that information faster. There’s a whole new set of analytics capabilities (which I will dive into another blog) in terms of workplace analytics, how do people communicate and when (tool usage, what times of day, with whom), which teams collaborate with other teams and are there missing opportunities to collaborate? All this gets to the fundamental value of information in your business.
Redefine what success looks like with productivity in terms of your business processes and needs. Having, say 5000 people on SharePoint is a statistic that leads to new metrics of success, not a goal in of itself, and then having 20% better information to influence a decision probably has massive value. Get to this kind of success measure in stages:
- How many people are collaborating together on documents and conversations?
- What is the increase in people collaborating together (rate of acceleration)?
- What are the bottlenecks to accurate decision making in a process stage?
- What information and participation do we need to influence this decision?
- How much is each stream of information worth? There are a number of approaches such as Value of Information in Decision Science to actually calculating this if you want to go that far.
- How can we access that information? Is it connectivity between people or information systems? Better use of new tools such as Power BI?
- What is the time sensitivity of the information? Can we get some improvement with small steps or phases?
I hope this helps to understand the thought process of assessing the value of collaboration and making the link to the investment into productivity tools. The tools are no longer the barrier in our organizations, it’s targeting the information firehouse they provide to meaningful results in our businesses.