Business leaders name inefficient processes and duplicated efforts as the biggest culprits behind wasted time, says a report commissioned by Portfolio and Resource Management solutions company Planview.

The report, Powering Productivity: How Business Leaders Are Using Technology to Drive Efficiency, is the result of an international study undertaken by research company Loudhouse, who surveyed 515 business leaders and key decision makers from the US, UK, Netherlands, Germany and the Nordics.

A Core Issue

The research revealed that the chief cause of wasted time during the workday is inefficient processes (44%), followed by paperwork overload (43%) and meetings (41%). Other contributing factors are poor communication and travel time.

These efficiencies affect not just employees but customers too, Loudhouse found, potentially leading to retention issues.

“Productivity losses are not just a problem for the management team. Both employees and customers are likely to be the ones who suffer as a result of inefficient working methods,” says Maria Nordborg, Director of Projectplace Customer Experience at Planview.

Technology is Key

Loudhouse’s research showed that companies without tech-driven productivity strategies struggle most, and Planview concluded that ‘technology is key to maximizing organizational performance.’ US companies were revealed as the most tech-driven, with the Netherlands at the bottom of the table.

The study showed that 96% of business leaders believe technology helps drive organizational efficiency. 53% of those with ‘tech-driven’ efficiency programs are ‘very confident’ of success, compared to 14% of those leaders regarding themselves as ‘tech-hesitant’ (14%).

However, only 40% believe it’s easy to measure ROI (return on investment) both before and after investing in new technology – and most companies see ROI in terms of productivity and efficiency gains rather than financial ones.

“We can see that efficiency and technological investment go hand in hand so business leaders need to define what efficiency means for their organization. If not, ROI measurement will be another unproductive process that leads to more wasted time further down the line,” says Nordborg.

The research revealed that those business leaders who are most in touch with their IT departments are better able to identify and judge ROI potential. Among the leaders with high levels of IT support, 63% claim it’s easy to determine value for money both before and after technology investment, but among those with mid to low levels of IT support, this figure drops to just 29%.

“Efficiency and productivity can be hard to both define and achieve, so defining the ROI of productivity technologies can naturally be hard to define too,” points out Nordborg. “The study shows that the IT team can help identify the ways to measure efficiency gains.”

The Gift of Time

Having given their opinions on the causes of wasted time, the business leaders surveyed were asked what they would do if they could be given back that time. How would they spend an additional 30 minutes every day?

56% would spend the time away from the office, recharging their batteries. Among those who would choose to reinvest the time in their business instead, most said they would spend the time on their own personal development, the development needs of other staff members, and streamlining business processes. Only around a third would spend the time investigating new prospects.

In the light of this report, it may be worth looking at the processes in your business. It can be easy to get stuck in a rut and carry on doing things in a certain way because it works – and because you’ve always done them that way. But could you change or amalgamate any of these processes – and are using your technology to full advantage?

How would you spend an additional 30 minutes a day?

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