Pity the poor office worker who actually shows up in the morning with the hope of completing some tasks. As Workato CEO Vijay Tella explained, “There are too many apps, too much context switching and poor visibility into key business needed to get your job done.”
To address the problem, Cupertino, Calif.-based Workato this month launched its Personal Workbot for Slack. The three-year-old cloud automation and integration platform wants to help workers shut out the noise or, more specifically, cut through the messaging clutter and bring automated tasks in one place.
Workato allows users to create chains of simple conditional statements or recipes to automate tasks — a process that will be familiar to those who use, for example, If This Then That (IFTTT).
The Workbot lets enterprise employees automate cloud apps from Marketo to Salesforce to access data visualization and customer information, as well as schedule commands and tasks for a later time. Workato recipes are created by the community, require no coding and integrate with some 150 different apps, including Eventbrite, Xero and Mailchimp.
Enterprise apps are a given in the workplace now, but Slack doesn’t always work for work as messages pile up and searching information becomes difficult. And as more apps become available, the odds of feeling overwhelmed and losing track of tasks and workflows grows, too.
“An average enterprise uses over 1100 apps and services,” Tella told CMSWire. “Every employee no matter his or her role, interacts with dozens of apps. HR, finance, sales, marketing, collaboration, storage, social media and more to get jobs done.”
The results: Too much “context switching,” Tella added — and that drains productivity. Even worse, he said, is that key information about customers and other data is fragmented across dozens of app.
"The information about customers in these apps is often inconsistent, incomplete and out-of-sync, leading to poor decisions,” he said.
For now, the Workbot can complete tasks like send a notification when an issue is assigned to an individual, produce a graphical view of incidents and provide research on a company using integrations with apps like Box, Docusign and Zendesk.
Tella says Workato keeps a watchful eye on enterprise chat products like Slack and Hipchat and the impact they make on enterprise collaboration.
“The complicated relationship between team productivity and personal productivity [is interesting],” he said.
However, Tella also points to the “unintended side effect” of the constant stream of information and notifications from these apps. There is a lot of noise and distractions in the digital workplace, he said. Tella thinks employees would rather receive direct messages in their private channels on items that need their attention than a barrage of companywide directives that may not directly affect them.
“Individual employees are looking for the chat products to be like a console for all their enterprise apps, independent of it being a great team collaboration tool.”