Whether your team is office-bound, hybrid, or fully remote, they likely spend much of their day using digital tools. However, not all apps are created equal, and we don’t always know whether they are effective and productive. For that reason, we must learn to audit our tech stack.
We always have the best intentions when we acquire apps. But circumstances can change, and we must be prepared to pivot. Sometimes we onboard a new piece of technology for a specific project or task, and after it serves its purpose, we continue to keep it in the workflow. But this only adds to the redundancy of our day-to-day.
For example, cross-functional team members may double up, documenting in two separate tools to serve multiple departments. While it may seem accommodating, this repetitive task can cost time and effort. Instead, teams should discuss whether to consolidate information into one tool that they can both access for the duration of the project.
Additionally, many apps lead to increased workload, miscommunication, and burnout. And when workers are overwhelmed by their tools, we begin to see common workplace phenomena such as “tech overload” and “app fatigue.”
According to Asana’s Global Index 2023 , 25% of workers will miss messages and actions when using more than 16 apps—that’s compared to 8% who use 1-5 apps and 15% who use 6-15.
If you want to protect your team’s digital well-being, check in on your tech stack regularly and analyze how it's impacting their workday.
Which apps should your team be working in?
While your company buys tech, workers also adopt their own. It’s part of innovation. And every individual has a different relationship with the tech they use. The tools that you may want to spend time with might be different than what your team members prefer.
So, have a genuine conversation with your team about which apps they like. If they’re designers, it might be Figma. If they’re project managers, it might be Notion. If they’re in IT, it might be ConnectWise. These apps are difference makers—and when your team is using what they prefer, they will operate at their most effective.
We all have app biases
When we ask our team whether they still need an app, they might not be able to give us an objective answer, as they’re likely too busy with their primary responsibilities to properly analyze their app usage. And without data to back up their decisions, they might end up guessing or making biased decisions.
Because we are influenced by optimism bias, assumptions are not useful. And when those with optimism bias make a choice, they overestimate the likelihood of a positive result. Studies have shown that 80% of people have an optimism bias at any given time.
It’s not fair for leadership to leave big decisions like organizational workflow to individuals to figure out on their own. Instead, leaders must share and collect data about app usage and share it with the whole team. That way, the team can make collective, unopinionated decisions on whether to continue app usage or not.
Analyzing your tech stack should be automatic
Performing a tech stack audit used to be time-consuming. In fact, it was so arduous that many companies put it off for as long as possible.
We believe the process should be automated. After all, when you want to measure your heart rate during a run, you don’t leave your finger on your pulse the entire time. The same goes for the digital workday. We need analytic tools that capture every app interaction and the duration of each activity as it happens.
When team members work between tools, they don’t track the moment they switch from one app to another. This leaves parts of their workday unseen. In order to gain visibility, we need data that enables the whole team to share which tools they are using.
Understanding how we interact with our tech stack is important because it provides insight into 1) how many apps people are using, 2) how often people are toggling between tools, and 3) which tools are making the biggest impact.
Produce8 provides digital work analytics with full transparency and opt-in functions. Once you and your team connect the apps you want to analyze, you can continue your workday without interruption. All app interactions are collected automatically and presented in the shared workspace. This collection of data offers you a deeper understanding of how the tools are being used without extra effort on your part.
Which apps are being used a lot?
Studying which apps your team frequently uses reveals the reality of your company’s workflow. Is everyone working in the apps they prefer? Or do they find themselves in other tools? And what does this tell us?
Sometimes the apps people want to use improve efficiency, so workers don’t actually spend that much time in there getting the job done. Data might also show us that another app is doing the heavy lifting or sucking up time.
For example, if the team is constantly fielding messages in Slack instead of completing their assignments, you need to take note. While communication tools are necessary for work, as a leader, you’ll need to provide some guidance to reduce digital distractions . One option? To work asynchronously. This alleviates the pressures to be constantly available on collaboration apps and allows your team to dedicate focused time to more productive applications.
Alternatively, the tool some perceive to be most productive may not be that useful. Maybe it’s not working the way it should be. Or perhaps it’s only required during a certain phase of a project.
Point is, once the data is shared, the team can come together and have a conversation about which apps are serving the ultimate goal.
Digital tools are meant to save us time and help us achieve our goals. But having too many can increase our workload and cause significant distractions.
When it comes to choosing ideal apps for your business, you must seek to understand what a productive day looks like and what apps are enabling that productivity.
We all have different preferences and responsibilities, which means one person cannot select the right tools on their own. You need to involve everyone in the discussion—from the CEO to managers to individual contributors. The key is for us to understand our work patterns and ensure that everyone is equipped with the right tools.