According to McKinsey, change now happens 10x faster, at 300x the scale, and 3,000x the impact, as it did during the Industrial Revolution.
Wow, that's fast.
And, nowhere is that more evident than in IT.
The top 3 IT challenges
While we're all different, you probably face similar challenges in software, as your peers.
But, it's not just a problem for big companies.
In fact, small companies spend about 6.8% of their revenue on tech-related expenses, while mid-sized companies spend about 4.1% and large companies only spend about 3.2% (Bitbean).
No matter the company size, IT managers are under pressure to account for what they’ve spent on technology solutions and prove that the tech has been worth the investment. And that can be hard to quantify and justify.
For every business process, there’s an app for that—and that can quickly become a problem.
If your company has separate apps for project management, content creation, approvals, customer management, sales tracking, human resources, marketing development, invoicing, expenses, videoconferencing, file sharing, instant messaging, and email, that’s a lot to keep up with. And most companies have more than one app for each process.
Given these realities, it’s no surprise that most organizations use about 88 different applications. And if you’re in a tech company, it’s probably closer to 155 apps (CIO Dive).
If IT oversees dozens of different applications, no wonder they’re concerned about costs. IT help desks also must help users through a variety of software struggles, and if their org doesn’t have a CISO, IT also manages the security risks around every technology.
With dozens of apps at their disposal, employees are busier than ever, switching between about 13 apps an average of 30 times every day.
As you might imagine, all that back-and-forth is a real time-suck.
According to 72% of workers, so many apps can lead to multitasking, and at least 25% of employees say that switching back and forth causes them to miss actions and messages and be less productive overall (CIO Dive).
Even this kind of end-user problem comes back to IT managers in the end. If there are complaints about employee productivity or other tech-related inefficiencies, IT has to answer for it.
Banish the software blues
Can you see the common issue in these IT dilemmas?
Too many apps.
While some apps can help streamline processes and boost productivity, collecting too many apps can quickly become counterproductive—and expensive. Use the following tips to streamline your company’s technology and improve employee experience.
Not sure where to start? Bring in an objective third party to help you track down the reduntant apps hiding in plain sight.
Each department will use process-critical apps that are unique to them, and that’s fine. But if departments are using different apps to fulfill similar purposes, and that should send up a red flag.
As you’re looking for redundancies, watch for:
- Apps with a similar purpose (e.g., communication/collaboration apps like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Slack)
- One-off apps outside of software suites like Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace
- Apps with low usage or user engagement (if you have access to those metrics)
Once you’ve identified the software you want to keep, put your adoption partner to work and get your users on board. No doubt you’ll get some pushback from users—change is hard, especially when people feel like decisions are being made for them.
To make this a smoother experience, check out these tips on how to encourage technology adoption within your organization. And instead of mandating the move to the new app(s), you can leverage champions programs to employ a bottom-up change management approach.
Maximize app usage
Having users move over to the new app(s) is a great start, but if you want to see a solid ROI on your technology, you need a longer-term strategy, and that involves software training. Good training helps users make the most of their technology, giving you more bang for your buck and helping users be more productive.
Although the most effective training is ongoing, it doesn’t have to require hours of planning or divert employees away from their work. Depending on your organization’s needs and culture, you might want to explore some instructor-led training (ILT) or maybe a self-serve learning platform.
With a fresh IT strategy—and a little help—you can cut down on spending, streamline your processes, help your users be more productive, and give your CIO a much-needed lift.