Most people would agree that technology has improved our lives. 

From global interconnectedness to better cab services, a sea of apps strive to solve all of life’s small inconveniences and make us more efficient, capable human beings.

Yet technology exacerbates one problem: clutter. 

Keeping up with the pace of innovation is tough. Our lives and smartphones often becoming graveyards for yesterday’s Next Big Thing. In fact, according to research from Nuance Communications, people abandon almost 95 percent of the apps they download

And this disorder only grows in the workplace with the inundation of disconnected digital tools. A project management solution here, an enterprise social network there, and next thing you know you can barely remember what part of your job requires what software. 

These apps frequently represent a powerful opportunity to make us better at our jobs — while reducing stress — but how will we discover that in the midst of the clutter? 

Can an integrated digital workplace save us? A single destination for work functions, at employees’ fingertips, creates a seamless work experience and boosts access to information. Could that solve the problem of improving the work experience without forcing workers to navigate a web of disparate systems?

Do Apps Help or Hurt?

According to our research at Interact, 91 percent of people agree that they would rather use a single platform for all of their enterprise needs than a number of disparate tools. 

There’s good reason for this. 

Disparate tools negate a lot of advantages they’re meant to provide. When conversations about a project or strategy happen on one platform, while document editing happens on another, information and knowledge are easily lost. Employees spend twice as much time searching for answers to what should be simple questions, which means more frustration and less time spent doing actual work

Learning Opportunities

The problem is compounded with each additional system added to a company’s repertoire. Intermedia quantifies the issue in a recent infographic. It found that the average small or medium sized business uses an average of 14.3 apps, with each employee using an average of 5.5. This costs these organizations $15 per month per employee in lost productivity. That comes out to over $10,000 a year for companies with 75 employees and $100,000 a year for those with 550 employees.

What Can We Do?

For all of that lost productivity, there is still evidence that many of these tools provide benefits. So if the problem isn’t the tools themselves, but the sheer number and disconnectedness of them, the logical solution is using a single tool that accommodates all the needs of your business. 

Our research supports this assumption, finding that tools which combine communication, collaboration and business processes solutions are most helpful to employees and encourage the most employee participation. 

Organizations should aim for one central hub — where employees have all the tools they need to effectively do their jobs — in their digital strategy. This fixes problems of multiple logins and lost information. And make sure this hub is searchable, allowing quick and easy answers to employee questions as well as access to the knowledge that’s been accumulated over the years.

What This Means for the Future of Work

The last several years have seen an app revolution, which resulted in a huge positive overall. Technology has made our lives significantly easier and will likely continue to do so. 

A change is coming, however. At least in a corporate environment, organizations are likely to see a move toward interconnected tools. This doesn’t mean doing away with technology, but utilizing a centralized hub to integrate outside tools and meets their needs like a Swiss army knife, rather than a heavy and unwieldy toolbox. 

The increasing power of the digital workspace will be a boon to productivity and profits, as well as seamlessly accommodating remote workers and other new modes of working. And maybe someday soon, companies can look forward to a clutter-free office.

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