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BT research finds technology investment is key to boosting workplace productivity

The vast majority of executives and IT decision-makers agree that mobile tools and collaboration services are improving productivity in the workplace

According to a new report published by BT, businesses that invest in digital technologies for their employees are being rewarded with a boost in productivity.

The report, based on a survey of 1,100 business executives and 600 IT decision makers in 11 global markets across the world, found nine out of ten respondents agree that mobile tools and collaboration services are improving productivity in the workplace — up from six out of 10 in 2015.

It was also revealed that only a quarter of executives would describe their current digital experience at work as ‘excellent’. A majority (eight out of ten) said that if they were CEO, boosting productivity would be their priority (up from just 57 per cent in 2015).

The report suggests that there are five simple building blocks to better employee productivity: a more connected video-led workspace; easier working and collaboration away from the office; corporate apps; instant messaging services; and better devices.

When asked what would help employees work effectively at the office, 63 per cent of executives said “better WiFi” compared with just 28 per cent who said “more meeting rooms”. Thirty-nine per cent said “interactive smart collaboration screens” and 32 per cent said “video rooms”.

Seventy-six per cent of IT decision-makers said that “employees often don’t understand how difficult it is to make our IT work effectively”, up from 67 per cent in 2015. They feel that delivering a more digital experience for employees is piling even more demands onto their already long “to do” list. For example, half of IT decision-makers said that their video conferencing needs updating, up from 38 per cent in 2015. Sixty-five per cent said they need to build mobile apps so employees can use internal business systems and processes wherever they are, compared to 41 per cent in 2015. Converging voice and data systems — the technology buzz of a decade ago — is still not a reality.

Six out of ten IT decision-makers said that they are still at the planning stage for convergence — a first crucial first step in the digital transformation of their business.

IT decision-makers are prioritising investments in cloud to support their collaboration and mobile services. Half already use cloud collaboration technology and 65 per cent have plans to update their IM, video and audio conferencing services.

Andrew Small (pictured), vice president, unified communications and contact centres, Global Services, BT, said: “Our research tells us that there’s a straightforward way to boost workplace productivity that doesn’t involve refitting offices. New, smart ways of working can be achieved through mobile and collaboration tools deployed as cloud-based services backed by wireless connectivity. Our teams of specialised professional consultants can help customers design and implement solutions that fit their needs. Digital transformation may sound daunting but ensuring employees get a great mobile and collaborative experience is a very good place to start.”