Business

Get out of the way: Smarter apps for a smarter workforce

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This sponsored post is produced by Boland Jones, the founder and CEO of PGi.

I’m fortunate in my role at PGi to work with companies of all shapes and sizes, and I see one consistent trend: In spite of efforts to streamline business processes and equip employees with the latest in mobile devices, software, and apps, organizations still struggle with lackluster productivity gains, low tool adoption, and a reliance on archaic methods to get work done. The solution for business leaders is thankfully simple: We have to get out of the way.

Stop building obstacles

Business software is typically additive, meaning that each new deployment creates new steps in workflows for users. Each new step is a new hurdle to productivity, slowing business down and costing you money.

The problem is that business apps still aren’t smart enough—or, more appropriately, they are “smart” in all the wrong ways. Many of the tools and apps we are deploying as business owners are giving answers to yesterday’s questions. The right question isn’t “How do I make the status quo slightly more efficient?” Rather, the question you should ask is “How do I redefine the status quo for the benefit of my employees?” Otherwise, you’re simply building more obstacles in your workers’ paths.

A worker in motion will remain in motion

We talk a lot at PGi about getting into a customer’s “inertia.” We build tools to meet workers where they already are instead of adding more steps into their day. When people face complex software learning curves or a lack of compatibility, they fall back on old, expensive, and time-consuming methods of getting work done, leading to lost productivity and poor adoption. In fact, productivity gains are slowing; according to the latest Labor Department report, U.S. worker productivity only increased 0.5 percent in 2013—the smallest gain since 1993.

Apps have to be smarter – in execution and integration

Agenday by PGi_smart mobile productivity

Productivity loss due to unintuitive tools is one of the key problems that our new mobile app, Agenday, is trying to solve. As a smart calendar app, Agenday is designed to help people conquer their calendars by extending collaboration outside of the meeting itself, bringing the information they need, including calendar data, participant data from LinkedIn, and content that is relevant to their schedule and role as well as offering one-touch access to their Web and audio conferences.

Dialing into an audio bridge and fumbling with numbers, passcodes, and PINs is outside of the inertia of someone who lives on their smartphone, where everything they need is a single tap away. Instead of forcing a mobile workforce to dig for their meeting information, Agenday lets them tap to join their meeting from a push notification as simply as answering a text or email. That’s in a modern worker’s inertia, and building smarter apps—apps that come to us instead of forcing us to do the work—is the way to tear down obstacles instead of building more up in the name of productivity.


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