Skip to content

It’s Time to Get Serious About Back Office Performance

It’s Time to Get Serious About Back Office Performance 10/25/2012
By Donna Fluss


After years of ignoring their back offices and hoping the problem of managing them would simply go away, senior executives are finally paying attention. This is both good and bad news for back-office managers. The good news is that executives are finally recognizing the value and contributions that back offices can make to the enterprise. The bad news is that the primary reason why CEOs and CFOs are paying attention is because they see the large number of people in back-office operating departments and want to reduce their costs without negatively impacting the overall customer experience.

Desktop analytics is a tool that addresses back-office management needs. Desktop analytics solutions are installed at each employee’s desktop, and provide visibility and transparency into what back-office workers do throughout the day. (These solutions can literally capture, measure and evaluate every keystroke – or lack thereof – of every employee.) Desktop analytics enables managers to recognize employee behaviors and performance issues that need to change, and also allows them to rapidly identify system issues. It’s no longer enough for managers to walk the floor and look over people’s shoulders, as back-office managers have done for generations. Managers recognize that measuring the total number of jobs or work items completed in a specific time period is not an effective method of tracking work productivity, as most work items have many tasks.

Below is a list of ways to use desktop analytics solutions in back offices:

  1. Improving employee productivity
    • Identify non-productive time
    • Identify training issues
    • Identify when employees are out of adherence with department rules
    • Identify employees who do not know how to get the job done
    • Identify standards for each task and work item
    • Identify procedural limitations
  2. Improving system/application inefficiencies
    • Identify operating systems that are not meeting service level agreements (SLAs)
    • Identify poorly designed solutions
    • Identify sub-optimal screens and navigation
    • Identify periods of slow performance/responsiveness
    • Identify redundant data entry, and automate repetitive tasks
    • Identify under-utilized or unused software licenses
  3. Managing work at the task level
    • Track all work and eliminate lost items
    • Track and measure SLAs at the task level
    • Ensure that work items are completed within the expected time frame
    • Reward employees for exceeding goals
    • Track re-work back to the source
  4. Identifying system and process bottlenecks
    • Uncover ineffective processes
    • Identify system issues that slow down processing
  5. Preventing quality and compliance issues
    • Reduce process variance
    • Improve consistency
    • Provide real-time guidance to improve quality and prevent re-work

If you’re willing to invest in your back office, we suggest that you select two or three of these uses and build a business case to quantify their impact. It’s time for change in most back offices, and desktop analytics is a great way to start.