How do we measure productivity and what are the relative contributors to it (especially technology)?

In April 2003, a consortium of six major US tech companies set up the Information Work Productivity Institute (www.iwproductivity.org).  The institute has developed a methodology for measuring the five dimensions of productivity.  These are Consistency of execution; Leverage of resources; Efficiency of operating; Alignment of capabilities and business goals; and Relevance of outcomes to goals.  All of these contribute to effectiveness.

As a fan of balanced scorecards and a proponent of benchmarking metrics, I read with interest and admiration the above summary in the Financial Times.  Law departments need to promote and measure consistency, leverage, alignment, and relevance in furtherance of efficiency.

Even more intriguing was a quote by Craig Samuel, chief knowledge officer of Hewlett-Packard Services, one of the consortium members.  “Although it is a catalyst, technology only contributes 10 of the solution [of efficiency and effectiveness].  Between 20 and 30 per cent of the solution is processes and the rest [60-70 per cent] is people, culture and behavior.” 

Many law departments look to technology, be it e-billing, matter management, portal, intranets, databases, document assembly or whatever, to improve performance.  If Samuel is correct, they would be better served to study how work gets done, and even more to concentrate on motivation, talent management, leadership and all the human sides of performance.

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