There’s certainly no shortage of apps and digital products that promise to make our businesses more efficient. But so much choice has its drawbacks in a digitally distracted workplace. Implementing a digital strategy can reduce wasted time and money spent on redundant or inefficient technology.
The trick is managing the products that come through your door and only permitting those that contribute to the core business. After all, apps and programs are just tools and will not replace the need to communicate, manage and prioritise.
So why are some businesses overloading themselves with software and actually damaging their productivity as a result?
Why businesses are losing money to digital
The plethora of software fighting for attention in our personal lives has spilled over into our work lives. But is the introduction of all this technology really improving efficiency, or simply creating new distractions?
Too often, technology is interrupting our days with unnecessary information. In fact, a University of California study found that workers were more productive when cut off from email. They multi-tasked less and spent longer focusing on a single task.
With software rapidly evolving, today’s most cutting-edge app can quickly become outdated – especially combined with a business that outgrows the capability of the software. It’s important that IT teams have their finger on the pulse of the digital technology market so they can prevent their software from lagging behind.
Preventing excessive software spending
For senior management and executives, getting the software right is important for the profitability of the company. Licensing costs can be expensive, and the ineffective use or wasteful overlapping of software can be a drag on technology budgets.
The solution? Don’t rush in. Let a dedicated IT team devise and implement a digital strategy that tracks the business’ existing software products and act only when a pain point emerges. Ask others in your industry what software works and what doesn’t.
Remember however that excessive spending is almost as detrimental as limited spending. To truly capitalise on software, you need to invest in a product that adds enough value to your business to not just cover its own cost, but exceed it. If you’re unwilling to upgrade outdated software, then you’re unlikely to grow your business as much as you could.
Similarly, selecting an app because it’s cheap will only cost you in declining productivity further down the track. Updating evolving technology can be expensive, but your software should grow with the company. These upfront costs can prove challenging for cash-strapped start-ups, but the alternative is the risk of falling behind more technically capable competitors.
Combining processes and functionality
New technologies should be used to complement existing workflows or create valuable new ones. You’ll need a thorough understanding of your business processes, and your focus should be on minimising complexity and boosting productivity.
One such example is the app Zapier, which combines up to 500 apps and completes a variety of automated tasks before informing you that new work has arrived. For example, it will move an attachment from Gmail into Dropbox and then notify you that the document is ready.
Getting the digital strategy for your business right before you invest is the first step in improving workflow, reducing inefficiency and potentially saving you money as a result.