5% Increase in Productivity Annually Could Double Standard of Living Every 14 Years: Cisco

The race to service IT departments in mobility in the BYOD (bring your own device) craze is heating up. In addition to RIM and Vancouver’s Absolute Software, Cisco Systems has released “Smart Solutions” that go beyond just BYOD.

The three solutions include the integration of service provider mobility, enterprise mobility, security, collaboration, and desktop solutions. This makes sense because a Cisco IBSG Horizons study of 600 U.S. IT and business leaders suggests that just 14% of BYOD costs are hardware-related.

More IT and business leaders are saying yes to BYOD because we live in an increasingly global world that requires us to blend work, life, and play together. The nine-to-five workday is dying. The survey also suggests 76% of IT and business leaders believe BYOD is somewhat or extremely positive for their companies. 40% of respondents in the survey cited device choice as the top BYOD priority.

I sat down with Cisco’s Vice President of Mid-Market Gary Issacs, who believes that BYOD is about tapping into how the workforce wants to work. He continued in saying that if you allow employees freedom which is what today’s technology oriented youth increasingly want, they can in turn become more productive.

The next generation is critical—they think and socialize differently. A happy employee is likely to be more productive than a jaded one. And when IT professionals are productive in dealing with ever increasing IT demands then they have time for creativity to spark company-wide innovation.

Cisco Canada’s CEO Nitin Kawale said in a morning keynote to a large audience at Cisco Plus Canada in Toronto Wednesday that a 5% increase in productivity every year could double the standard of living every fourteen years. SMEs account for 45% of all economic growth yet represent 67% of private sector employment.

But Kawale regressed that we’re spending a lot on research and development and not getting a lot back. Kawale ended his keynote in saying how Canadian society generally views things: “Pessimists are usually right, optimists are usually wrong. But optimists make great change.”

Productivity is critical. Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, not harder. And right now in IT departments that is not happening.

Eric Ries, the author of the much talked about The Lean Startup, asked why productivity isn’t being focused on as much as it should be during an interview with Jet Cooper’s Satish Kanwar at the MaRS Commons Tuesday night in Toronto. Ries is a proponent of trying to change how startups are built.

And it looks like the Government of Canada is listening. They recently released last fall a new an $80 million dollar Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program (DTAPP) that will fund startups in the digital media space focused on productivity. The program is expected to run until March 31, 2014 and is part of NRC-IRAP.

Techvibes did report back in December that Canada has been all talk and no walk when it comes to digital technology adoption. DTAPP, like Cisco’s newly coordinated efforts, is to get things moving so that Canada, like other advanced countries, can perhaps double their standard of living by 2025 if the focus is on productivity.

And we have something to be optimistic about as a country. Kawale was enthusiastic about the fact that Canadian employees aren’t the problem- it is the fact that businesses everywhere in this country have fallen behind in getting the right ICT infrastructure into place to boost productivity.

All talk and no walk makes Canada a laggard- but perhaps the next few years can be different for the World Economic Forum says that ICT has proven to be a catalyst of change.