The burden of application switching with workplace analytics

June 16, 2022

Pete Summers

The burden of application switching with workplace analytics image

In our previous blog we explored some common points of digital friction and how they disrupt and frustrate employees, such as faulty laptops or non-performant applications. However, beyond these obvious symptoms of technology failure there are other points of friction that equally sap time but often go undiscovered. In this blog we take a look at workplace analytics.

One of these points of digital friction is the need for employees to switch applications to complete a task or process. Though this might sound like a minor problem, it actually presents an ongoing daily burden on both frontline and back-office workers. Eliminating such productivity barriers falls under the remit of the IT leader, whose job it is to provide the technology that facilitates employees to do their work seamlessly, but they face a challenge in spotting these points of friction in the first place. Let’s look more closely at why application switching is a serious issue and how IT leaders can relieve this hidden burden.

A bigger problem than you realize

Ineffective software and processes that force application switching significantly impact the productivity level of an organization. One study found that employees waste up to 32 days a year toggling between apps just to get tasks done. Aside from the time and cost implications, this also has an effect on concentration, with 31% of employees saying they lose their train of thought when navigating between applications.

Unproductive processes are frequently left unchecked for extended periods of time because IT lacks the right insight into user journeys and cannot rely on employees to report these bottlenecks themselves. This is because inefficient processes often become normalized when employees have been doing them for a long time, so they slip under the radar until they’re shown how much time they are actually wasting. A technical fault like a broken keyboard is a tangible and pressing issue, but realizing you’ve switched applications three times in the last hour may not even feel like a problem at all. As a result, application switching continues to drain time, money, and energy unnoticed.

Mapping the steps to improve productivity

So, how can IT teams capture and quantify the impact of this digital friction across thousands of employees who are distributed across multiple locations and countries? The answer is that IT needs to be able to evaluate the user journey in detail to proactively optimize the digital experience and make it easy for employees to get from A to B in their workflows. By mapping the sequence of steps an employee takes to complete a task, including which applications they use and how often they switch, IT can reveal hidden friction in processes and address them to drive greater employee success.

Scalable’s workplace analytics platform Acumen delivers granular insights on user journeys to do exactly that. Acumen exposes the problem, providing data and insights that enable the IT team to address the underlying issues, such as missing functionality in core systems, issues accessing applications, or when employees are running old versions, all causing them to expend unnecessary time and effort to get a job done. With insights from Acumen, IT can:

  • Quantify the scale of the application switching problem by mapping user journeys
  • Improve productivity – do more with existing resources and reduce transaction/processing time
  • Reduce cost by eliminating unnecessary or duplicate apps
  • Identify best practice and replicate across the entire workforce
  • Ensure compliance with specific corporate procedures
  • Minimize risk of errors by standardizing processes
  • Identify training requirements for employees who seem to be repeatedly struggling or taking excess time to complete tasks

Bring these problems into the light

It’s only when an issue like application switching is quantified that organizations really understand the scale of the drain on resources and the urgency to take appropriate action. Luckily, having access to the right data makes these issues an easy fix by shining a light on the hidden barriers to productivity. This enables IT to proactively streamline processes to improve the experience, enhance productivity and save time – without putting additional burden on employees.

To find out more about Acumen, visit here.