man reading newspapers displayed behind glass
PHOTO: Filip Mishevski

There is an underlying assumption that adding new software or tools will make the workforce more productive. However, new research from Forrester suggests this is often not the case, disappointing enterprise leaders.

Forrester’s research, The Shrinking Productivity Gains From Technology Investments, looks at why US productivity growth has stagnated across virtually all industries despite increases in tech spending. 

Since 2010, the report reads, US productivity growth has plateaued at around 1%. Given the positive relationship between increasing national productivity and economic growth without inflation, every company should be concerned about stagnating or declining productivity, it states.

“Since technology has historically played a key role in productivity improvement, the impact of tech spending on productivity must be considered,” it reads.

It adds that trends in overall US productivity indicate increases in tech spending no longer raise overall US productivity as much as it did in the past. The report brings up four other points:

  • Over the same period of time tech investment has increased by about 5%. As productivity generally trails investments, productivity should start increasing by now.
  • The relationship between tech investment and increasing productivity is getting worse, suggesting the need for alternative tech spending justifications.
  • At the industry level, the relationship between tech investment growth and productivity has been negative since 2012.
  • CIOs who continue to justify tech investments largely on increased productivity risk jeopardizing their own credibility.

This is important information for enterprise leaders considering enterprise tech investments. Ultimately, it suggests that tech and productivity are not necessarily related, so CIOs should be looking at other factors to ensure productivity. The report is behind a paywall, but you can read a summary of the findings here

The Good and Bad of Remote Working

Research from Buffer examines how workers feel about remote work, its advantages and its drawbacks.

The report, The State of Remote Work, by Buffer in partnership with Doist, Hubstaff, Remote-How, RemoteYear, Trello, Workfrom and We Work Remotely asked nearly 2,500 remote workers to outline how they felt the about remote work, what remote work looks like in their individual experience, and the structure of their companies that allowed for remote work in the first place.

It's a mine of information on working in the digital workspace and confirms what many people believe to be the case already, notably that remote work is not a trend — it’s here to stay.

Of those interviewed, 99% said they would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. More to the point, in addition to respondents wanting to continue to work remotely, they also recommend remote work to others in their lives, from co-workers and friends to family members.

Matthew Hollingsworth, the director of operations at We Work Remotely (WWR), the largest community on the web to find and list remote jobs, said, “we truly believe now is the time for remote work to become the norm. We see hundreds of thousands of qualified people come to WWR each month looking for remote work and have seen the companies that embrace it leading the way in attracting the best talent.”

However, before making the jump enabled by technology, it is worth noting there are drawbacks. Remote workers, the report says, struggle with unplugging from their work, as well as suffer from loneliness and experience challenges with communicating.

“We need to acknowledge that isolation, anxiety, and depression are significant problems when working remotely, and we must figure out ways and systems to resolve these complex issues,” Amir Salihefendic, CEO of Doist, the fully remote company behind popular to do list app and task manager Todoist.

The reality of the workplace at the moment points to the fact that balancing both remote workers and in-office workers is the most common scenario. Of the business owners surveyed, 91% said they had always intended to support remote work, which is up from 88% in last year’s report.

Microsoft Unveils Home Sites

Microsoft made a number of announcements at this week's SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas. While none of the announcements were earth-shattering, a number are sure to make SharePoint users happy in the year to come.

It goes without saying that Office 365 and Microsoft 365 featured high on the list of announcements, with the majority of the news focused on SharePoint Online and what’s on the way. SharePoint Server — following all the hoopla of the past two years about SharePoint 2019 — was low-key this time around.

One SharePoint Server announcement did stand out though: Microsoft will be adding support on Azure Stack to enable enterprises to run SharePoint Server 2016 or SharePoint Server 2019 from Azure, even if the timing of this as unclear. It will also be possible to use Azure SQL Database Managed Instance with SharePoint Server 2019.

Microsoft also announced a new landing page for employees called SharePoint Home Sites for sharing news and content based on the employee's role in the organization. SharePoint Home Sites are an intelligent, integrated employee experience landing page for your organization that:

  1. Connects the workplace with Microsoft Search and mega menu navigation.
  2. Shares relevant news and content to each user based on their role and place in the organization.
  3. Engages employees with conversation and compelling video powered by Yammer and Microsoft Stream.
  4. Powers individual productivity with personalized content, information and navigation.

Microsoft plans to make branding easier with Home Sites. It'll be possible for IT pros to add a link behind company logos that can steer users back to a Home Site. Other announces worth noting:

  •  An intelligent intranet featuring SharePoint home sites.
  •  Innovations in Yammer and Microsoft Stream for employee engagement and communications.
  •  Intelligent file experiences, sharing and controls with OneDrive.
  •  Turbocharging Microsoft 365 performance, security, intelligence and innovation.

Nucleus Cyber Secures Teams and Yammer

Elsewhere, Nucleus Cyber, which builds intelligent data-centric security, announced extended support for NC Protect’s data discovery, conditional access and protection capabilities to Microsoft Teams and Yammer social collaboration tools.

The objective is to provide enterprises with safeguards against insider threats, sensitive data misuse and exfiltration, as well as unauthorized file access and sharing.

The widespread adoption of Teams and Yammer for internal and external communication has dramatically increased the risk of malicious and inadvertent data misuse, sharing mishaps and breaches.

NC Protect now secures Microsoft Teams and Yammer content to ensure only authorized parties can access and share sensitive information. It does this by extending its core content and context aware data protection controls available for SharePoint and Office 365 to the Teams and Yammer platforms. The new functionality is available now.

Copper Raises Additional $15 Million

Copper, founded in 2014 by Zynga veterans Chris Cheng and Jon Lee, develops customer relationship management (CRM) solutions for Google’s G Suite. It announced it’s received a $15 million extension to its series C funding, bringing its total funding from $53 million to over $68 million.

The funding will be used to fuel the company’s expansion into Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where it today derives about 30% of its revenue.