The end of the year is often a great time for management to reflect on the year that has passed and what should be done differently. It’s easy for today’s leaders to get lost in the day-to-day tasks of management, and this time of year is useful for taking a step back and assessing the wider values that their company works towards.

At Nitro we think that some things are too important to be compromised simply because people are busy. In this article we’ll talk about what we see as the top three priorities for businesses in 2016, with a particular focus on IT management, and how the management teams of next year can improve on their business practices.

Where to focus on #IT in 2016 according to @iamjohnokeeffe from @NitroHQ Click to Tweet
  1. Speed and productivity

It seems like everyone’s talking about productivity these days, so much so that it often seems like productivity is an end in itself, rather than a means to an end. Business leaders in 2016 would do well to remember the costs of low productivity. According to a recent report from the IDC, document challenges are robbing audiences of 21% of their overall productivity; this breaks down to an individual productivity cost of £15,000 per person per year.

So where are these productivity drains typically found? It doesn’t take much experience of office life to know that email attachments are often the culprit. According to the IDC almost half (48%) of workers have emailed the wrong version of a file to a colleague or client, while 81% surveyed found themselves working on a wrong version.

Stopping the slow decline of employee productivity is an important priority for IT departments in 2016

Stopping the slow decline of employee productivity is an important priority for IT departments in 2016, according to research from Nitro. 68% of IT managers stated that this was one of their key goals, and with 91% of IT professionals using printing and scanning as a primary content management tool, there’s clearly a lot of room for improvement.

  1. Document security

According to the IDC, 90% of US companies have experienced a data leakage or loss of sensitive or confidential documents in the past. In addition, 76% of workers said that document processes can create auditor issues in the future and over half (54%) of workers have discovered that their company is exposed to significant risk due to stored company content that is not correctly tagged and identified.

According to Nitro, security topped the list of considerations for IT managers for 2016, with 47% of managers citing it as their key priority. Despite this, 77% of organisations do not provide a secure document sharing solution and a large portion of businesses, especially SMEs, rely on archaic document management practices such as email attachments and USB drives to handle documents. These methods of sharing are scarcely more secure than the paper they replace: they can easily fall into the wrong hands and have no built-in security mechanisms to control access.

77% of organisations do not provide a secure document sharing solution Click to Tweet

The biggest obstacle to providing document security in the enterprise market is ease of use: people will not bother using solutions they find difficult to understand and use. Companies should focus on finding the right solutions for their needs that combine safety with ease of use – it doesn’t have to be an either/or scenario. There are tools on the market enabling you to track a document through its entire lifecycle, ensuring the right people see your content at the right time.

  1. Sustainability

Sustainability has been popular in people’s personal lives for a while now, but in enterprise companies it’s still lagging behind. However this looks set to change in 2016.

Reducing energy use and reducing waste (therefore costs) are the two strands that corporate sustainability normally falls under. Both of these factors are directly affected by document management practices. A recent McKinsey survey placed sustainability as a top priority for CEOs with 49% classifying it as a top three initiative and 13% classifying it as their number one initiative. So anyone in a management position should become familiar with practices to improve sustainability.

Nitro has identified several trends in IT professionals’ priorities for 2016: an equal portion of IT professionals rated remote accessibility and sustainability as of equal importance to their content management processes next year. The key thing to note here is that both these priorities involve reduced paper usage, and with 45% of paper printed each day ending up in the bin, it’s a change sorely needed.

It is important that proper document processes are implemented from the top down

Printing is the path of least resistance for employees, and unless they’re given easy-to-use tools enabling them to reduce their reliance on paper and to refresh poor content practices, corporate sustainability will not improve. It’s therefore important that proper document processes are implemented from the top down. Document productivity tools are able to help in getting rid of these archaic processes such as printing, scanning, signing and email attachments, and it’s essential that employees are given access to the tools they need to overcome each of these three barriers. Significant change can’t be made overnight, but as managers prepare for the new year it’s clear that these are the priorities they should be working towards.