Time is money. Money sustains our businesses. So it is no surprise that, as business leaders, we are constantly trying to fit more into less time. We strive to be as productive as possible in both our personal and professional lives, and as our organizations grow, we quickly realize how important productivity is to team success as well.
Many tech companies, some new like Slack and Trello, and some household names, such as Google and Apple, have capitalized on our desire to be as efficient as possible by creating apps. A quick Google search of “productivity apps” lands you 41,700,000 results in a mere 0.60 seconds. I’m stating the obvious here, but that’s a LOT of options. So where do you start? How to you begin to narrow down your options and determine what is best for your organization’s specific needs? Start with these considerations:
1. Analyze your workflows.
Reflect on your current workflows and processes. Where are bottlenecks occurring? What issues have arisen? Don’t do this alone, talk to your team. Each of your team members has a different role than yours and, in turn, a different perspective.
2. Identify your needs.
Following your analysis create a list of your needs and prioritize them. Have your team do this too. An anonymous survey through a free site like Survey Monkey is a quick and effective way to capture honest feedback.
With these prioritized needs front of mind – research! Do simple Google searches to identify apps. Read reviews – good and bad, from multiple sources. Research companies similar to yours and determine what apps (if any) they are using. Do primary research. Call people. Use the power of your network to get candid feedback – seek out differing opinions so that you end up with a well-rounded overview. This is particularly important for apps that you have short-listed.
4. Decide in haste repent at your leisure.
Just because a new app is trendy and “everyone” is using it doesn’t mean it’s right for your organization. Implementing new apps takes time and effort and it is much harder to get the support of your team to support a switch to a new app three months down the road when you realize your first choice wasn’t a good fit.
5. Do NOT be cheap.
When used properly, many applications can have a significant impact on the productivity and culture of your company. While there are a number of free apps that can be incredibly effective, don’t automatically pass up options that have a price tag. If it is the right option you will make your money back in spades.
6. Ask for help.
You will quickly find that your network is happy to spread the word about their experience with apps they have tried – the good, the bad, the ugly. As well, don’t hesitate to reach out to the creators of the apps you are considering. They are often happy to provide insights including customization options – you don’t have to settle for the default settings!
Choosing what tools to work with on a daily basis is a process. Enjoy it. Work with your team, listen to their opinions – they are working at the front lines and can often identify needs and issues you hadn’t considered yet. While there is an upfront investment to get a new application up and running in your organization you will reap the benefits quickly.
Work smarter, not harder.
A/Regional Manager, Senior Analyst, Bioenterprise BC