What is productivity
Many organizations are closely examining their productivity and what their tech functions can do to improve it. As a quick reminder, productivity measures the amount of work you can get done within a defined time and resources—or, more formally, “a ratio between the output volume and the volume of inputs”. Anything which increases work completed or reduces the cost or time required increases productivity—which is what everyone wants.
Why is this a focus now
The current focus on productivity is driven by economic challenges such as stretched supply chains, political and economic instability, and inflation. Leaders are seeking ways to do more with less to drive costs down. Organizations, which recently focused solely on growth, now spend time and effort on cost reduction and productivity improvement strategies.
A change of focus for finance
This is something of a pivot in the boardroom—as the graph of “CFOs’ and Finance Leaders’ Primary Actions to Combat Inflation” from Gartner shows, the first response (in blue) of finance leaders to inflation was to pass costs on to customers. However, in the face of more protracted inflation, almost 40% planned for cost reduction and automation, shifting their focus towards driving increased productivity.
First, define your scope
Before you can roll your sleeves up on productivity, you’ll need to confirm your room to maneuver. Resources for strategic projects need to be fiercely protected, along with everything needed to keep the business running, although there’s often scope to optimize these. There may be “must do” initiatives due to regulatory or compliance requirements—although again these can and should be optimized. Finally, there are usually resources that are historic carry-overs—these are often the most fruitful areas for cost reduction and efficiency gains.
.Next, protect key skills
Alongside safeguarding strategic projects, you must protect scarce skills. As you start to reduce nonessential systems and assets, the last thing you need is to lose the talent most knowledgeable in your environment. Whenever possible, use cost reduction through automation (for example, the capabilities baked into Observability) to carve out funds to protect experienced staff.
.Lastly, dig deep into productivity
The first task for driving productivity is to understand what’s live in your environment since it’s easy to accumulate unnecessary infrastructure. Integrated solutions like SolarWinds® Hybrid Cloud Observability provide insights into your environment and automated discovery and dependency mapping can help identify candidates for rationalization.
Eliminating duplication is an obvious next step, and removing tool sprawl is a great start. Organizations acquire overlapping tools over time, and integrated observability solutions can help consolidate systems and optimize costs to help achieve economies of expertise.
While automation is nothing new, it remains an essential tool for operational efficiency, now often enhanced by AIOps capabilities—event correlation to accelerate root causes analyses, and anomaly detection to highlight unusual events for further investigation—and both are baked into SolarWinds® Observability.
At a time when teams are working hard to drive productivity, Tech functions must pull their weight. While nothing outlined above is revolutionary, it all adds up: last year, a customer saved more than $2 million in recurring costs by investing in components of SolarWinds Hybrid Cloud Observability. While we can’t promise you’ll match this, exploring observability solutions can help set you up for whatever comes next.
 “Defining and Measuring Productivity,” OECD, https://www.oecd.org/sdd/productivity-stats/40526851.pdf, (accessed January 2023)
“Defining and Measuring Productivity,” OECD, https://www.oecd.org/sdd/productivity-stats/40526851.pdf, (accessed January 2023) https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2022-05-19-gartner-survey-shows-significant-rise-in-number-of-cfos-planning-cost-cuts-due-to-inflation