Technology leaders and CIOs have a lot on their shoulders. The still-evolving world of hybrid work has technology at its core to help cope with fast-changing business demands. As a result, all business leaders are finding that their roles are expanding with opportunities to drive progressive digital-first programs.
For some companies, the transformation was so rapid that they didn’t have the time to fully vet solutions and changes to processes. As a result, not all digital initiatives have been without flaws. Adobe’s Future of Digital Work Study, which surveyed 4,500 technology leaders and workers, found a near-unanimous number of employees (87%) and tech leaders (89%) acknowledge that poor technologies are hurting the company’s productivity. More than half of tech leaders (58%) went as far as to say that poor tech is “killing” their company’s productivity and costing them between two to four hours a day in lost productivity.
As a technology leader myself, this feedback is critical to improving operations. The great part of technology is it’s always evolving, meaning there are always better solutions and processes to consider to build the best, most efficient digital-first workplace. Here are three pain points that continue to hinder workplace productivity.
- Paper-based processes
Thirty years ago, Adobe set out to create the digital office. It invented the PDF so workers could send sensitive information without having to rely on paper documents or lose document formatting. Fast forward three decades and more than half of technology leaders say at least half of their company’s work is still paper based.
Our mission to create the paperless office was fueled by the pursuit of efficiency. And about a third of workers say that paper-based work like managing a mix of digital and paper documents, collaborating using paper documents, and printing paper documents is hurting their productivity.
Paper-based processes also hinder an organization’s ability to extract data and intelligence from our files. A separate Adobe study in partnership with Microsoft and Forbes found that more than a third of CIOs believe that improving digital workflows will unlock new business or revenue opportunities by harnessing data previously lost in paper documents.
Despite the recent push for more digital business operations, companies – and especially small businesses – still need to tackle more digitization of mission-critical workflows to boost efficiency, resiliency, and revenue prospects.
2. Digital literacy
It’s not just about having the technology; it’s about providing tools and training to create a digitally savvy workplace. And despite the years of using technology at work, employees still don’t feel proficient.
Though three-quarters of leaders rank the digital literacy of their workforce as good, employees are less confident: just 62% of employees say the same. More than a third of leaders say their companies have the “top experts in digital” in their companies, yet only 15% of employees feel the same way.
New technological advancements like generative AI present an opportunity for employees to discover new ways to express their ideas more creatively and powerfully. Unfortunately, the reality is that workers still struggle to schedule calendar invites or convert documents to PDFs. Not to mention the people that still join meetings on mute.
3. Bad technology
What might seem obvious is one of the biggest problems: poor technology. Most employees (87%) say poor technologies are hurting their company’s productivity, and even more technology leaders (89%) agree. While there are many technologies and with advanced capabilities to choose from, it’s simple: employees name lack of automation as the No. 1 productivity killer.
Poor work technologies can hurt employee morale too. About one out of five employees will complain to their boss about poor work technologies. The alternatives that employees will consider are looking for another job (16%) or “quiet quitting” (16%).
Technology is the backbone of nearly every organization, so it plays an important role in driving business goals and delivering results. As our world becomes more digital, every company will need to lean on good technology to reduce friction for their employees and stay competitive.
How organizations can address the pain points
Employees that feel confident and productive when using technology will lead to more satisfied customers and overall business success. Through engaging with employees, leaders can better comprehend which specific processes or programs are hurting productivity and invest in solutions to close those gaps.
For example, the Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council digitized its e-signature workflows with Acrobat Sign, providing faster, more efficient services to its more than 300,000 residents and local businesses. Internal maintenance teams also benefited from digitization, which reduced processing times for their essential documentation. Deputy Environmental & Waste Manager for Housing Maintenance Greg Jewkes said, “The improvement in productivity is immense on all levels, from minimizing disruptions for our operatives to helping our office staff manage the process without having to physically handle a lot of paperwork. The e-signature solution helps reinforce a more positive and professional experience for employees, boosting their job satisfaction.”
Leaders should lean into the AI and automation advancements we’re seeing. AI-powered solutions can help an organization do more and upskill employees to work on more high-impact work. When automation can tackle tedious, time-consuming tasks, employees will have more brainpower for innovation and creative problem-solving, which in turn boosts their overall workplace experience.
Take professional services firm RSM Australia, for instance. RSM had separate PDF and e-signature platforms, which meant lots of inefficiencies and lost or corrupted data. Within only 30 days of moving to Acrobat Sign, RSM was able to process 6,000 e-signature transactions, with no additional operating costs, and they’re on track to process upwards of 70,000 business documents each year. The more efficient processes make it easier for RSM to collaborate with clients and enable employees to spend more time building critical relationships instead of managing complex document workflows.
Deployment of a new solution is just as important as which tool leaders introduce. By offering training, change management support, and data-backed reasoning for the transitions, organizations can encourage better adoption and use of the new technology across their workforce.
As biotechnology company Regeneron was rolling out Acrobat Sign to streamline processes, Global Head of Application Services & Intelligent Automation Jai Gulati said, “Adoption is the key to any new technology. Since Adobe Acrobat is widely used across the company, we knew that people would be more likely to adopt an e-signature solution from a familiar and reliable vendor.” Thanks to this strong adoption, Acrobat Sign helped Regeneron reduce contract offer processing time from 2 hours to 4.8 minutes.
The digital-first workplace isn’t a destination, it’s an ever-evolving goal, and technological advancements push the bar for what’s possible. As technology leaders, it’s up to us to continue to evolve and make sure our workforce is following at the same pace. Start by evaluating current technology and equipping employees with the resources to be a digital-first workplace – through tools and skills.
To improve the digital workplace, Adobe offers all-in-one solutions like Acrobat, which help work get done whenever your employees are and integrate with popular apps like Microsoft and Salesforce to streamline workflows. Our artificial intelligence, Adobe Sensei, powers features in Acrobat to speed up document creation as well as Liquid Mode, which improves the experience of engaging with PDFs on mobile devices by automatically reformatting your file to fit your screen.
Learn how to up-level your digital documents with Adobe Document Cloud solutions.