US Productivity Slip, A Threat to Sustainability?
By James Farrar
Bob Suh, Chief Technology Strategist at Accenture writing in yesterdays Financial Times hits the panic button on US productivity. Apparently it is starting to slip relative gains in Europe and China. The reason is an under investment in technology. I know what you are thinking, I’d be surprised too if Accenture reached a different conclusion about the need for tech spend. Nevertheless.
What is interesting in terms of sustainability trends are two issues. One is an apparent political fear of technology investment inside the firm amongst CIOs with Accenture reporting only 34% of major IT projects coming in without a hitch. Suh uses the heart surgery analogy:
Taking no action with a 100 per cent chance of gradual death, is more palatable than having a procedure that has a 66 per cent chance of sudden death.
The other issue is a concentration of spending on Sarbanes Oxley compliance and M&A systems integration that might be better spent on overall process efficiency.
The former though based on well grounded fear is a clear example of short term thinking getting in the way of longer term value creation. The latter is an example where legal compliance is traded away against the opportunity for greater resource efficiency.
In reality, to tackle global problems such as climate change and poverty we will need a massive innovation in business process efficiency.