Take a quick glimpse at the home screen of a peer’s smartphone or tablet and you’re likely to see a familiar sight: dozens upon dozens of mobile application icons. From recruiting, project management and networking to social media, games and other beloved procrastination tools, there truly is a must-have app for everything.
In fact, apps currently account for 50 percent of all time spent by people in the United States on digital media.
We leverage a massive collection of apps because they support our responsibilities, keep us organized and in theory, make life a little easier. But at what point does switching back and forth between dozens of apps actually hurt productivity?
If you feel like your staff has reached app overload, and the benefits of using these tools is actually hindering performance, here are a few things you can do to scale back and recalibrate.
1. Take Stock of Your Current App Collection
The goal of an app audit is to determine which workplace technology apps in your portfolio are meeting your business objectives.
The first step is to figure out what apps your team is using for what tasks. Look for overlapping features (more on this later) and estimate the value or waste of each app. If you haven’t used a particular app in six months, or you can’t remember what the app does, it’s time to cut it loose.
2. Consolidate Your Apps
Look for feature-rich applications or app bundles that serve an array of responsibilities. One feature-rich application can replace several workplace apps and thin out your app portfolio. For example, a project management application like Asana has a large suite of tools, including task management, subtask management, project management, calendar, attachments, communications, workflow management and progress reports. This single app is capable of replacing messenger and calendar apps, to-do list apps and more.
3. Don’t Underestimate the Value of Google
G Suite — Google’s integrative application bundle — offers an organized collection of tools for communications, storage, collaboration, management and more. Because it’s cloud-based, the suite doesn’t require any downloading or updating. Best of all, Google apps are easy to integrate with other preferred applications.
4. Use an Integration Platform to Connect Apps
Still feel like you’ve got too many apps on your device, but not sure which can be integrated to streamline your experience? Don’t worry — there’s an app for that, too.
Siloed apps result in siloed data, which actually creates more work for users who have to bridge information gaps and manually make sense of multiple data sets.
Applications like Zapier allow you to link over 750 different types of web applications, so they share data without ever having to write code. Apps like Zapier also enable you to create workflows that support automation. For example, when you receive a new email with an attachment, you can program your apps to automatically send the attachment to Dropbox, and at the same time, Slack will send you an alert about your new Dropbox file.Reach your full performance potential by making sure your applications are always working for you, not against you. Treat refining your application portfolio like a spring cleaning chore, and assess its support of your business objectives at least once a year.
Finally, as a rule of thumb, seek out integrable, feature-rich solutions that bridge data gaps for you. Future business success won’t just depend on what technologies you have, but also on how well you integrate and leverage these technologies to empower your employees.
Editor's Note: This post was previously published on Inc.com and has been republished here with permission.