In an unfortunate bit of irony for businesses, the very apps that are intended to help smoothly run the business and drive workplace efficiency actually may be making their staffers less productive.
This scenario plays out in a situation that's been dubbed "app overload." It's been called the silent productivity killer, due to its counterintuitive nature.
How does it occur? Businesses are pivoting to optimize the customer experience while they enhance their support service, expand options for communication and develop new revenue streams. They accomplish this by adding apps that often do not seamlessly integrate with their legacy apps and workflows.
As a result, workers need to find their way between an ever-increasing roster of applications. They must switch between apps to start or complete tasks as they seek information in one app to use in another.
Just think about how many apps you might use in a typical workday! Not to mention the times when you need to respond to a client's message on your personal email account or a customer's call to your mobile phone. That should be a convincing thought exercise about how the situation impacts you and your company.
Real-world studies have unearthed rather alarming numbers. Knowledge workers use from eight to 12 apps on the low side and as many as 35 or more apps, in a single day. No wonder many of us have two or three monitors spread out in front of us. Navigating so many apps can involve changing direction more than 1,100 times per day, and it can take more than 20 minutes to get back on track after losing focus.
It should not be a huge surprise, then, that each of your team members is losing - at a minimum - one hour a day from switching between apps, with attendant log-ins and multi-factor authentications, copy-and-paste, etc. This can add up to 32 lost days a year (a month and a half of workdays!).
The challenge and scope of app overload likely has been growing over the course of 2020, as more and more people adapted to working at home, where it's even easier to get distracted. In moving to a remote environment, many of them got deprived of the multiple monitors that served as a navigational aid. In addition, many changes were done "crazy fast" and IT/Development staffs did not have the runway or enterprise platform in place to integrate and test the new apps they added.
"Techno-stress" is the term applied to people feeling anxiety about handling the complicated and rapidly growing maze of technology both at work and at home. You know it's a problem when 45%+ of study respondents find the constant switching between systems to be more annoying than receiving spam, sticking to a diet or paying bills!
Besides wasting a lot of valuable time, app overload can directly lead to reduced responsiveness, less customer satisfaction, lower employee morale and impaired lead generation/conversion... all of which will negatively affect sales downstream.
Given the nature of business today, change is inevitable and experiencing app overload might be in the cards for virtually any company. Cleaning up existing issues and preventing future overload should be a vital component of any organization's approach to technology.
But there is hope, Begin by implementing a strategic roadmap. Create a full list of all apps and tools used. Work with the finance department, if necessary, to get the associated cost and determine ROI. From this point, see which apps you can get rid of entirely and which you can streamline using the following strategies:
- APIs, whose very purpose is to help different programs communicate with each other.
- Process automation, through which repetitive tasks done by humans (and perhaps associated apps) can be cut out altogether.
- Integrate apps under the umbrella of a single platform like EOX Vantage's Enterprise Operating System (EOX).
To the last point, our cloud-based solution unifies the apps your business needs. It can include everything from modules of our own creation to any or all of your existing apps, from homegrown systems to legacy programs and third-party apps. They all come together in one secure place to create an efficient and ergonomic digital workspace.
The EOX enables you to chain together data, workflows and processes from all over your enterprise and across platforms. EOX integration with your current apps and systems can remove or reduce the hassle of multiple sign-ons, significantly lower app overload and lessen the effects of techno-stress on all your people!
“App Overload: The Silent Productivity Killer” by Terena Bell, CIO.com
“2019 Annual SaaS Trends Report” by Ariel Diza, Blissfully.com
“Employee Productivity Statistics” by G.I. Sanders, PeopleDynamics.com
“Modern Threats to Growing Businesses: Overcoming the Perils of App Overload and Task-switching” by Citrix