Success can be defined in many ways depending on the business. Project managers and other managers can improve productivity by optimizing business processes through state-of-the-art technology for any business.

What is business productivity?

Business productivity measures monetary gains by comparing the total output of goods or services versus the inputs used to produce those goods or services. For example, inputs can consist of an assembly line of workers paid per hour to make widgets. Therefore, the total value of the widgets, which is the output, needs to exceed all the costs associated with making the widget for the business to be productive. 

How important are business processes?

Business processes are the foundation of business operations, and any business that wants to improve productivity with technology will focus on its business processes. Each business process must have KPIs (key performance indicators) to help determine whether the process is meeting or exceeding business goals or objectives. 

For example, suppose a business is successful and all its business processes are meeting expected business goals through KPI measurements. In that case, management can look at technological advancements to improve productivity. The business process will be permanently enhanced if improved KPI measurements can be sustained through technological advances. There are multiple ways to improve business productivity.

What technological tools can improve business productivity?

Tech tools have played an integral role in helping businesses remain competitive in national or international markets. Let’s review a subset of technological tools that help businesses improve productivity.

Analytical tools

Powerful business intelligence (BI) tools use artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques in applications like Power BI, Tableau, and Microsoft Excel to retrieve raw data from multiple business systems and store them in a data warehouse repository for analysis and review. 

Data analytic tools use user-friendly dashboards or reports to display raw data that is converted into meaningful information with business trend insights. Business managers can then use that information to make more effective business decisions. Without data analytical tools, managers don’t have as complete a picture and may make less-impactful decisions while missing other valuable opportunities. 

High-speed telecommunications

Remote work has gained significant popularity with COVID-19, and reliable high-speed communications only enhanced the ability for remote and hybrid work. With technology advances like 5G, software that offers online collaboration features such as ProProfs, Trello, and Basecamp have only made remote work more productive.

Videoconferencing solutions like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and WebEx can also offer reliable high-speed telecommunication services, so business managers can hire high-value employees from anywhere.

Cloud-based collaborative tools

Cloud-based collaboration software helps the distributed workforce by providing easy communication options. File sharing, digital whiteboards, and other capabilities help managers manage projects remotely and asynchronously. And according to some managers, the virtual office space helped reduce unexpected meetings and provide more time for work with no employee commutes.

Gamification tools

One popular method for increasing productivity in any department is gamification. The intent is to fold trainings, goals, and daily tasks into games with points or rewards for personnel who meet particular numbers or achieve the best results. Gamification can keep employees motivated and engaged in their success. 

Customer relationship management systems

Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps reduce overhead and frees sales staff to think creatively and focus on customers who want to purchase. Employees can use notes and other information to further build relationships with their customers and keep processes tidy. Chatbots assist in answering frequent questions so your staff doesn’t have to, and chatbots maximize customer convenience.

Human resource technologies

Human resource tools can assist in a wide span of HR tasks, such as hiring, training, and various points of employee management. You can store notes and other information, such as records of incidents, forms, and other situations so the HR team as a whole is on the same page. Some HR software can also simplify the hiring process with set role requirements and tracking, and they can be used to record interviewers’ notes for a broader look at the hiring team’s thoughts when making a decision.

Project management software

Project management software can help your team manage project stages, tasks, deadlines, and a wide breadth of other productivity goals. But there are so many ways to approach project management, meaning there’s an overwhelming variety of tools and solutions to choose from. 

For example, you could invest in a software that uses Gantt charts, critical path methods, or many other work breakdown structure techniques. You don’t necessarily need to know these structures or techniques to find the right solution for your business, but you should take a moment to understand how a project management software behaves to see how it might accommodate your projects and needs. Some software development teams may use agile methodology to increase team performance, improve customer satisfaction, and increase project versatility. But a smaller software development team may use Scrum.

As another example, kanban methodology is considered a more visual approach to project management. So if your team performs best with visual systems and actively moving blocks (or sticky notes) down a pipeline, kanban may be your best route. Kanban fits into other methodologies or techniques, so even if you select a kanban-compatible software, you can make adjustments to the project management approach.

In your search, you should consider your team’s or company’s project management strategy—the documented process used to identify what’s needed to complete a project. This strategy should include these steps:

  • Define goals early and adjust as necessary to meet the desired end state.
  • Understand the project scope and identify ways to address scope creep.
  • Communicate with clients and team members often.
  • Set clear expectations.
  • Identify and manage project risks.
  • Document project processes and use version control.
  • Ask and allow for feedback.
  • Celebrate all project milestones.

There is no one-size-fits-all software for projects, as each project is unique and project managers may use whatever technique, tool, or methodology that makes most sense to deliver a project on time and within budget.

What non-technical processes can improve productivity?

There can be no success without productivity for businesses, but a business can be productive without success if the business produces the wrong output or widget. Therefore, before any technological advances can be applied to business processes, companies must ensure there’s a sustained demand for any goods or services it produces.

However, while technology can be used to improve productivity, businesses need to ensure successful non-technical strategies are already implemented in the workplace to maximize the use of technological tools:

  • Keep things simple.
  • Set reminders.
  • Review goals regularly.
  • Eliminate or minimize time-wasting processes or activities.
  • Avoid multitasking.
  • Consider offering a wellness program.

Using these best non-technical business processes will only boost the productivity value of technological tools. Management should also keep particular pain points in mind when choosing additional tools. For example, are there communication or collaboration issues? Are there task management issues? Defining expectations and needs can go a long way in targeting specific productivity improvements.

Start with the largest concerns first. There’s always room for improvement, but it’s best to focus on only a few things at a time. As processes get easier and productivity increases, you can take steps to identify smaller grievances for consistent improvement. However, do keep in mind that needs can change. Solutions that work beautifully at one time may not be the most graceful solution a year or two down the road. So it’s essential to keep the conversation going and continuously work toward the best processes and guidelines at the present time. 

Properly using technology increases business success

Technology can help improve productivity in a number of ways, whether it’s by automating tasks or by managing projects more effectively to free employee mental bandwidth. But be sure to consider the impact of implementing any technological tools. How long will it take before the KPIs are improved and profits rise? Keep in mind how much it will cost for training and any software or hardware purchases, and compare that to expected gains.

If all goes well and you have the resources to invest in a new software or tool for your business, then you can absolutely see astonishing improvements across the board. Project management software in particular is a helpful starting point for productivity improvements, and some project management solutions offer free or affordable plans. You can take a look at our favorite project management software to get started.

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