Microsoft Ireland and the Irish Management Institute (IMI) are to open a €2m centre in the middle of next year to help private companies and public sector organisations improve their productivity.
The project was officially unveiled this morning by the Finance Minister Brian Cowen TD. Called the National Productivity Centre, it will be based at the IMI’s campus in Sandyford, Co Dublin.
The development comes in response to a series of recent reports which have highlighted the issue of productivity in helping Ireland’s economic competitiveness, along with the role that technology can play in improving this.
It’s hoped that the partnership of Microsoft and the IMI, with their respective expertise in technology and management development, will devise ways for Irish organisations looking to boost levels of productivity. The plans for the centre include provisions for additional industry partners to support the initiative, with announcements due for the months ahead.
When the centre opens, it will run demonstrations of new and emerging technologies in addition to specific IT and management skills training for managers in public and private organisations. The €2m investment in the centre comprises financial support, technology donations, expert personnel and capital costs.
According to Joe Macri, managing director of Microsoft Ireland, there has been an active debate on the issue of productivity over the past year. “The focus on this issue, at a time when Ireland’s costs continue to rise, is to be welcomed and we believe that the combination of the technology tools and management expertise that will be showcased in the National Productivity Centre will be of benefit to managers from both the public and private sector as they seek to increase productivity in their own organisatons,” he said.
Tom McCarthy, chief executive of the IMI, said that there was increasing demand from business managers to become more productive and increase their competitiveness. “Management capability is obviously a key issue that needs to be looked at in this regard,” he said.
The timing of the announcement is no coincidence, coming just a day before the worldwide release of Microsoft Vista, Office System and Exchange 2007 to business users, marking the company’s biggest product launch to date. In tandem with this, the company is heavily pushing the software as an aid to productivity in organisations.
By Gordon Smith