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Overcoming SaaS Tool Overload

Why adding yet another tool won’t solve application overload.

Cloud-based application development has fueled an  explosion of SaaS tools over the past decade.  Individually these tools have unlocked incredible value by enabling us to communicate, collboarate, share data, and track projects any time, anywhere. Collectively, however, most organizations have amassed an overwhelming number of tools, leading to what’s sometimes called “Application Overload.”

Application Overload

Let’s take a quick look at the numbers. 

Blissfully’s 2019 Annual SaaS Trends Report revealed companies with 50 or fewer employees employ roughly 40 applications, while those with 1,000-plus employees utilize over 200. Most of these applications end up fragmenting our attention by generating a barrage of notifications, and silo communication and data. All of this results in employees switching between apps between 10-60 times each hour, and this context switching doesn’t come cheap.

The cacophony of app overload costs the average knowledge worker $11,000 per year. With 65M knowledge workers in the US, this is a 650B dollar problem for the US alone. American businesses are losing $650 billion every year. 

Sometimes We Can’t Choose Our Tools

App overload might not be quite such an acute problem if every team or organization chose to standardize on a narrow set of tools they worked in. Unfortunately, given the highly collaborative nature of digital work today coupled with the democratization of IT, few have that luxury. 

Let’s take an agency customer of ours as an example. This agency has 20 clients. One client works solely in the Google Suite and likes to communicate through email and in-line commenting on documents. Another works primarily through Microsoft and Dropbox and prefers communication through Slack. A third uses a sophisticated range of specialized design tools. You get the picture. Not only does our agency need to learn all of the disparate platforms and tools, but they also need to somehow collaborate effectively in-house to corral and synthesize all of that information into deliverables for their clients. It’s a bedeviling game of whack-a-mole combined with “Who’s on First?”. 

Overlap Among Functions

According to Gartner, total SaaS revenue will reach nearly $100 billion this year. With every organization deploying dozens of SaaS tools, it’s almost inevitable that functionality will overlap and redundancies will exist among your tools. 

Take project management for example.  Many organizations use some combination of Trello, Basecamp, Monday, MS Project, Asana etc.  Video Conferencing? Zoom Google Meet, Skype, GoToMeeting, etc.  File Sharing?  Box, Drop Box, GDrive., etc. Chat?  CRM? Marketing Automation? Product Analytics?  You get the picture — how can teams collaborate with all these sources of record?  Considering there’s probably a dozen or more categories of tools, each with multiple options for work, digital workplaces almost inevitably end up fragmented, disjointed, and disheartening.  

Dialing In on a Solution

Recognizing this problem is old news. Thus far, however, solutions have missed the mark. They ask all users to standardize on the solution, vying for position as  the centralized hub for all other tools. While this approach may be well-intentioned (albeit unrealistic) without strict enforcement from platform police, it just exacerbates the problem. Adding yet another tool won’t solve tool overload. What we need instead is an agnostic, impartial platform, that allows you to use whatever tools you prefer in a unified, context-specific workspace. 

Enter Dialed. A software platform designed to end distraction and promote focus in the workplace, Dialed helps businesses and knowledge workers take control of workplace app overload by organizing existing tools,, relevant communications and resources by project or client.  We call this workspace a “Focusboard.”

Dialed’s Focusboards integrate web-based applications to tune out distractions and enable more thoughtful, meaningful work. The platform allows users and team leaders to explicitly define and curate relevant components to a particular context, filtering out the artifacts that are not relevant. Users can create as many Focusboards as they need and navigate easily between them, with the confidence that each delivers everything they need to do their best work, and nothing extra. 

We look forward to ushering in a new era of focused, intentional work that has our tools working for us versus us working for our tools.