Moving Towards Hyper-Productivity at Google

Contributor: Simon Barton
Posted: 05/26/2016

On day two of Enterprise Mobility EU, we heard from Thomas Davies, Director for Work in EMEA, Google, who discussed how technology has made him more productive at work and the impact mobile devices will have on the enterprise over the coming years.

The first thing Davies asked the audience at Enterprise Mobility EU was to rate how productive they felt at work on a scale of one of ten. There were a few tentative eights and nines, but the majority agreed that six was probably most accurate. “When I ask people this question – people from different demographics, countries and industries – most people say six or seven. That’s where people are comfortable enough to say; I work as well as other people around me,” says Davies.

Davies asked the audience a second question: “How many people feel their working life has been made easier by technology?” There was a 50/50 split. Appreciating that many hadn’t raised their hand, he then commented, “I think we’re tantalizingly close to working out the work, life, technology balance. I think technology can help us a great deal. Technology can add that plus two or three everyday, so that we feel hyper-productive.”   

Over the next couple of years, Davies sees technology affecting the enterprise in two ways. “The first is obvious. We have automation, algorithms and machine learning – they are going to help us get through the mundane – the speed bumps – that we do everyday. Tech is going to be used to take those tasks away, especially within existing applications.” The second change predicted by Davies was more profound, as he explained, “Rather than pulling information from an application, we can move towards assist; where an application is helping and supporting me.”

In order to assess the impact of mobile technology and to make a distinction between now and two decades ago, Davies refers to a trip he made from London to the North of England – where, due to traffic, he was late and only given twenty minutes for a meeting. “I questioned my productivity, but all I had at my disposal with myself and my car – there was no integrated mobile device,” he says. Back then, his productivity was linear and self-productive, and at the discretion of the forces around him. “It’s different now,” he says. “I had to go to Paris on the Eurostar, and I was sitting there, doing [Google] Hangouts, I’m making calls and adding things to my calendar. I think that’s a pretty productive use of my time.”  

In the last five years, Davies believes that technology has made him at least five times more productive. “In certain industries – like manufacturing and retail – this [his productivity] might not be the case. But as more and more people get online, technological elitism will disappear. We have the hardware, the access, and connectivity – we’re about to enter a period of unparalleled technological advancement.”

For Google, they want mobile devices to represent the opposite of Davies’ unproductive, round-trip to the North of England. “Mobile has changed my working habits, it’s changed my productively, it’s changed how I engage with stakeholders. I’ve gone from paper, to desktop, to web, to applications. But I am part of the [technology] elite. We [Google] would like to think that the next four-billion people that come online will be connected like this.”

Davies’ presentation highlighted just how much the enterprise has changed at the hands of technology and mobile devices. Yet due to connectivity there are some that can’t take full advantage, while others still remain unconvinced. The next couple of years will hopefully see automation win over the doubters, as mundane tasks get eaten up by technology, allowing for increased productivity.

Did you miss Enterprise Mobility EU? We will be featuring articles about the event over the next few weeks. In the meantime, discover how Ryanair embarked on a digital transformation.   

Thank you, for your interest in Moving Towards Hyper-Productivity at Google .
Simon Barton
Contributor: Simon Barton

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