5 Good Reasons You Should Use Fewer Business Tools
LATEST RESEARCH shows that the overall productivity growth in the US is slower than ever.
As reported by the New York Times, Americans’ growth in output/per hour of work is at its slowest since the early 1980s.
In the early 2000s, working-class’ productivity rose more than 2% per year. From 2011-2015, the official labor productivity measure shows only 0.4% annual growth in the average employee’s output.
How is this possible? With so many new business tools helping us to automate and improve work, the results should be far different.
However, using tens of business tools also has its side effects, including high costs, lack of collaboration, and a decrease in productivity.
This article will look into the five most widespread reasons why companies should use fewer business tools.
1. High costs
SaaS (Software as a Service) tools often solve one specific problem. There are special tools for pipeline management, accounting, quoting, email marketing, lead nurturing, cold calling, etc.
You’d be surprised to learn how many business tools popular companies use. According to Siftery, Uber uses 141 tools, Facebook 175 tools, and Apple 169 tools.
Each business tool a company uses helps particular team members to better do their work. As a result, they get their work done more quickly and efficiently.
However, if you calculate the monthly cost of all the tools you’re using, it could add up to thousands of dollars. The sum can reach staggering heights if you multiply the monthly costs by 12 to calculate the software cost per year.
While too many business tools can seem like a small problem, the high expense isn’t the only issue. There are additional disadvantages that make an increasing number of companies reconsider their use of online tools.
2. Scattered data
Another hidden cost of using business tools is disconnectivity.
Mostly, the SaaS tools you’re using fail to integrate and communicate with each other. The data you have in your CRM software needs to be exported and re-entered to your email marketing and business intelligence tools. The same pattern repeats over and over again.
Before they can use the online tool to complete a task, your employees need to spend up to two hours on importing the right data.
All this time spent on moving data between multiple tools could be put into more beneficial use. While an increasing number of SaaS tools integrate with each other via third-party tools such as Zapier, the setup still takes a lot of time.
In large companies, different business departments often prefer to use different online tools for identical tasks. For example, your HR, sales, and marketing teams could all be using a version of a CRM tool.
Having different business departments using various tools is a recipe for disaster.
Each team will have their own ways of collecting and managing data which turns it unworkable for other teams. Having them all use a shared tool is a big step towards a productive use of your company’s resources.
3. Time-consuming setup process
Many companies acquire new tools in the quest of increasing their team’s efficiency. What they fail to notice is the setup cost of each new tool.
While many software vendors sell their product with the promise of 5-minute setup, it takes a lot more time in reality. Some ERP systems may take three to 60 months to implement. You need to import all your data, invite new users, explain how the tool works, etc.
Usually, new software implementation is handled by a team leader whose time is exceedingly valuable. Later on, all team members need to devote some time to getting used to the new tool.
Adopting new software costs a lot more than marked on the company’s pricing page. It costs hours of your team’s time, often worth thousands of dollars in hidden resource costs.
4. Unproductive time management
When using numerous business tools in their daily work, users often need to switch between them.
Each SaaS tool answers a specific question, achieves a particular task, and solves certain problems. On a regular workday, people need to handle tens of questions, tasks, and problems.
It’s no big secret that multitasking has a negative effect on our productivity. Research has revealed that it takes people an average of 16 minutes to refocus on a task after being distracted. It also takes a lot of time to adjust your mind to working with a new tool.
For example, an average Slack user is active 320 minutes every workday. That’s 5.3 hours of potentially getting pinged with a question, breaking the focus and workflow.
When compared with team collaboration tools, the email doesn’t seem the largest time waster anymore. At least it’s not demanding the constant attention of your team.
If your team uses tens of business tools, they’re highly likely to get derailed from their planned workflow.
5. Inadequate overview
The more digital your business, the more business software you’re inclined to use. Small 50-people companies might be using well over 20 tools without even realizing it.
Another problem with many small tools that fail to integrate is the lack of a clear overview. Unless they use even more tools to gather the data from the currently used tools and software, management has no reliable summary of the company’s performance.
Depending on the number of tools you use, the management might be struggling to get informative reports and monitor KPIs.
Read more: What Is a KPI? (Complete Guide)
To access various business metrics, managers need to consult all the niche business tools. All the hours spent on searching for information could be devoted to strategic planning and the implementation of high-ROI activities.
Using tens of various business tools may seem productive and time-saving. When weighing in all the hidden costs, the opposite is true.
Top reasons why you should use fewer business tools:
- Tens of tools cost your company a lot of money
- Getting started with each new tool takes hours of everyone’s time
- Various tools fail to integrate, leading to scattered data and extra work
- Too many business tools can be distracting for users
- Management has no overview of each department’s work and performance
A report released in 2016 by price comparison checker Better Buys showed that the global SaaS market is expected to break $50 billion in terms of product spending by 2024, from $12 billion this year.
Problem- and task-specific business tools aren’t going anywhere soon.
However, there are certain steps you can take to improve your team’s productivity and significantly reduce the number of tools used.
- Ask employees to make a list of tools they actually need and eliminate all the rest
- Only use tools that integrate with your reporting and business intelligence tools
- Start using multi-feature software solutions* that help with multiple tasks instead of one