The use of multiple software applications to manage a business has become more popular over the years. At first, the benefits may seem obvious, with more features and better functionality than any one application could presumably provide by itself. However, there are many potential downsides to using too many applications.
In this article, we'll explore some of those dangers so you can make an informed decision about whether your company should adopt this strategy.
There are several ways that the use of multiple apps can increase your company’s overhead.
For starters, you need to learn new systems and manage each one separately. The time spent learning the ropes and familiarizing yourself with these various apps is precious time taken away from other tasks that likely need your team's attention.
You'll also have to track data from multiple sources, making it harder for you to gain insights about your customers. And because you'll be managing multiple users for each system, you have less control over security issues in your company.
Furthermore, the use of several apps also means you’ll then have to manage the data across them, and this can become inefficient and complex. This increases your time spent dealing with this information and makes it harder to stay on top of all the tasks that need to be completed.
The use of multiple apps is time consuming, and frankly, your company will likely bleed money trying to keep up. As a result, something (that is, the multiple apps) that was meant to lighten your workload and increase productivity, will end up costing you both time and money.
Let’s break it down:
You’re going to need to invest considerable time to learn new systems. Even more time training your staff and bringing them up to speed on multiple systems.
And on top of all of that, you’re going to need to spend time to manage your in-house IT team or the outsourced company that is managing your multi-platform environment, which means more time spent teaching them how to troubleshoot problems when they arise. Naturally, that means more money out of your pocket to pay their salaries.
Another challenge companies using too many apps are faced with is the manpower and hours dedicated to training staff on how to use these various apps.
As you can imagine, each app has its own way of capturing data and presenting it back to users. As a result, there is a high likelihood that multiple apps will require additional training for staff members tasked with using them in their workflows. This can lead to wasted time as they learn how different tools work and what they do differently from other applications already in use by your team or organization.
And when it comes to training new-hires, if you’re only hiring one person at a time, this isn’t too much of a problem—but if you want your employees to use multiple apps, then there will be a lot of additional training involved.
Even more concerning is that each app requires its own training because it has its own set of features and ways of doing things. This means that each new employee will require individualized training for every single app they use on the job! And that introduces the need for ongoing support from others on the team, taking away from not just one, but multiple people's productivity.
Double entry can be time consuming. This is especially true if you have a lot of transactions to record, or if you're working in construction, where the information flow is highly complex.
Unfortunately, not all apps offer integrations, so the various apps you use are likely working independently of each other. When you have too many tools at hand (and don’t use just one to streamline everything), there is increased risk of double entry — meaning entering information into two places instead of just one place.
Unless these tools are integrated together seamlessly by default, this could lead to problems down the road when trying find out where something was entered originally or how old certain pieces of data actually are, since updates may have been made directly within one application but not others over time.
As your organization grows, the amount of information that needs to be shared will also increase. The problem is that this can easily lead to "information silos," where information is stored in various places without being accessible or usable by other parts of the organization.
Information silos are bad for several reasons, including the following:
They lead to inefficiency, which means wasted time and effort as people try to find what they need from these disparate sources.
They make it difficult for employees who aren't involved with a particular project to understand how their work fits into the larger picture.
As you can see, it’s not just the user who suffers.
The business owner and executives have an equal burden of pain. Add to that the cost of training employees on multiple platforms and data sources, and you have a headache that could make even the strongest of people want to lie down in a dark room for a while (or maybe take up meditation).
It’s easy to get excited and carried away with all of the tech solutions out there today. While at first it may seem like these various apps can lighten your team’s workload, adding too many of them to the mix can have the complete opposite effect.
Not only is the use of too many apps inefficient, it also increases overhead, and can be complex, leading to more work for you and your team. The data silos created by multiple apps makes it harder for teams to collaborate effectively.
If you try to manage everything with one platform or software program that streamlines your processes and is beneficial for the entire team, including both field and office teams, the chances of something falling through the cracks goes down dramatically.
Ditch the Spreadsheets and Multiple Apps
Ontraccr lets you decide exactly how you want to digitize your entire operation, from the field to the office, providing an all-in-one platform to power your business.