Appageddon: Why giving employees an app for everything is killing their productivity and posing risk to the business

March 20, 2024

Sarah Morrison

Appageddon: Why giving employees an app for everything is killing their productivity and posing risk to the business image

Businesses just can’t get enough of applications. Today, there really is an app for everything – with a highly competitive market supercharged by hybrid working offering apps designed to streamline diverse tasks, enhance productivity, improve collaboration, and meet industry-specific needs.

But it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Many employees have too many apps to manage, and often don’t know how to use the apps they have been given, or what they are for. Not to mention the spiralling cost to the business of buying and maintaining so much software.

Five areas of fallout from appageddon

  • Application overlap: Many companies have purchased and licensed multiple applications in the same category. This is common in areas like collaboration and project management software. For example, solutions like Trello, Microsoft Planner and Jira often exist in tandem when only one is needed.
  • App switching and chaotic workflows: Application overload leads to significant lost time by forcing employees to repeatedly switch apps to complete tasks. With 68% of workers toggling between apps up to 10 times an hour – too many apps make for chaotic workflows, as well as hurting employee productivity
  • Notification fatigue: More apps mean more notifications across more channels. Whilst email has historically been the biggest offender, with Teams, Zoom, Slack and other messaging apps, phone and video added to the mix, no wonder Scalable’s recent research shows that 30% of knowledge workers are experiencing “notification overload”.
  • Collaboration silos: Overlapping communication channels result in silos of knowledge and fragmented conversations. Missed information or participation is likely to occur, with an increasing tendency for employees to overlook communications as there isn’t enough time to absorb it all. This makes it difficult to share knowledge, and compromises enterprises’ ability to execute and make decisions rapidly.
  • Increased costs: For the business, having multiple apps for the same purpose means unnecessary spending on multiple licenses and time spent on maintenance. An app re-shuffle alongside encouraging employees to use corporate standard software offers significant cost savings.

Avoiding employee ‘App-athy’

For employees with too many apps, digital experiences can be just as frustrating as it is for those without the right tooling. With almost a third of knowledge workers identifying poor DEX as a factor in making them consider leaving their job, identifying the apps workers need and use is crucial to streamlining digital experiences. It is the workforce who are left feeling the strain of disparate applications wasting their time and impeding their productivity.

App standardization is critical. Getting teams to use the same applications goes beyond simply rationalizing or consolidating applications. What’s needed is deep insight into how apps are used to support processes, and to identify any issues employees face with using corporate standard apps – such as a lack of training.

The good news is there are ways for companies to reduce the inefficiency and dissatisfaction caused by fragmented conversations, collaboration silos and wasted time employees spend switching between apps and browsers. The answer to application overload is to take a proactive approach to technology that takes into consideration the needs of your company and employees.

At the core of this is the ability to understand employee experience and the digital friction that impacts it. Digital Employee Experience (DEX) analytics provide the insights needed to identify and eliminate problem areas. DEX data can be used to rapidly elevate business success via thoughtful digital adoption and the standardization of applications and processes. This can manifest as eliminating duplicate tools and the associated expense, improving governance, reducing security risk and driving more efficient IT operations. And for employees, standardization enhances productivity, minimizing the need for application switching – ultimately reducing wasted time and disruption – improves collaboration by removing communication silos, and enhances processes by eliminating workflow bottlenecks.

Learn how Acumen can help your business optimize business outcomes and drive digital adoption here.