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Anna Horan
Culture Journalist

Anna Horan is writer and editor based in Melbourne. She has written for Broadsheet, The Big Issue and Junkee Media, and is the former editor of TheVine.

Anna Horan
Culture Journalist

Anna Horan is writer and editor based in Melbourne. She has written for Broadsheet, The Big Issue and Junkee Media, and is the former editor of TheVine.

It’s easy to identify inefficiency and risks when you’re a sole operator. But what happens when you're at the top of a 100+ person workforce?

Identifying inefficiency in your business is usually looked at through a money lens, particularly for finance operations. But the real long-term benefits are in the accumulation of little changes by making your business processes more visible and understanding where risk may lie.

They aren’t visible to the naked eye though, so the starting point should be getting the right information to the right people. According to EY Australian Productivity Pulse 2014, in Australia, 70 per cent of workers believe their productivity would improve with more accurate data and analytics in real-time, so they can make better business decisions.


The stats also show that only six per cent of workers think they already have access to this data. The same report uses PwC’s Geospatial Economic Model, which identifies a potential additional $49.2 billion that could be unlocked in the Australian private sector through better use of technology over the next 10 years.

For many businesses, the billions may be out of reach (for now), but technology can be like reading glasses for your business – letting you strip out the inefficiencies, attain greater productivity and prevent issues before they occur. 

man sitting at open desk space with spotlight lamp

Optimise your cloud

Cloud technology has already done wonders for bringing all the information about your business into one centralised place, but that’s not its only advantage.

Having this information available in the cloud effectively turns it into a data centre that can be mined for inefficiencies in your business. CEO of Princeton Consultants, Inc, Steve Sashihara, writes in his book The Optimization Edge: Reinventing Decision Making to Maximize All Your Company’s Assets that the best application of a business’ cloud (after its basic use) is its optimisation capabilities.

Once upon a time most organisations didn’t have access to supercomputers and mainframes that could mull over and figure out better processes and solutions for their business.

Now you can hire a thousand servers short term to sort through your data in your cloud. These servers can make automated process decisions or recommendations, ranking their benefits. Longer term, these supercomputers can continually optimise your business from new data being added to the cloud.

Get real-time visibility

Understanding the movements and behaviour of staff, particularly when staff levels reach triple figures, can become increasingly difficult. When the movement of money is concerned, understanding where people have the opportunity, pressure and rationalisation to commit fraud or corporate espionage is integral. Technology is increasingly helping identify where significant risks may lie.

Electronic discovery (or eDiscovery) software, such as Australian-based Nuix, is helping businesses identify where risks lie without compromising on privacy. Essentially, eDiscovery takes unstructured data, organises it and analyses it to provide insights on staff who have a high risk of fraud, or information being illegally transferred to people outside of an organisation.

But the technology can also be used to identify where improvements can be made. By combining this kind of software with business intelligence and analysis, it’s possible for staff sentiment to be tracked, performance to be benchmarked and lessons from high performing teams to be identified.

Empower the individual

And while a holistic view is integral, encouraging staff to seek out and analyse their data at an individual level can also deliver benefits.

Web applications like Rescue Time are like personal auditors when it comes to your digital consumption habits. By tracking computer use, it’s able to report back to you with accuracy how much time you spend on apps and different websites, your productivity and how this affected your goals on a weekly basis.

Looking at how much you’re checking your email a day or checking in with social media is a classic example of time you’re probably losing efficiency and will help you set boundaries or identify when breaks should be taken.

Understanding operations also means understanding how your business is protected.

Here’s why cyber security in the cloud is integral to protecting IP.

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