The Effects of an ‘Inadequate’ Tool

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The main purpose of a tool is to facilitate the completion of a task with ease. A tool can be a software application or a widget. It doesn’t matter what format or shape the tool comes in, it is costly to a business when a tool can’t deliver the needed boost to productivity.

There are many factors that affect the effectiveness of a tool. The following are three fumbles you want to avoid with software tools.

  1. Clunky mobile apps

Doing a task on a small screen demands very different form factors from working on a full size computer screen. It is inappropriate to adopt the same screens and data input requirements for a computer to a mobile device. Consider an account manager meeting with a client to check in on her business. The manager uses an iPad to access the product database and the customer relationship management application. He needs quick access to product information. He also wants to minimize the amount of typing when capturing information for a quote preparation, for instance. Speed is paramount. When the mobile app is clunky, user dissatisfaction results in low adoption rate. Further, the fragmented data captured by reluctant users leads to data gaps, affecting data reliability for other uses.

  1. Misguided deployment

The first release of most applications is developed to serve unique needs. As it builds traction, additional functionalities are incorporated to satisfy expanded market needs. Some of these additional features might deliver suboptimal performance. For example, a customer relationship management (CRM) software is perfect for tracking interactions with prospects and clients. It also serves well as a repository for all contact information. However, it might not be suited for process management. A simple ribbon showing a sequence of tasks which requires users to manually check off task completion is not process management. It is just performing the same work a paper checklist does, but in an electronic format. Beware of your business needs and assess whether the added features can truly deliver improvement before adoption.

  1. Bastardized functionalities

Innovative instincts drive us to be creative with the software already deployed in the business. For instance, Excel is a wonderful application that every business uses. Apart from the spreadsheet functions most use for analyses and reports, many businesses use Excel for creating forms. Some even use it for work management. In this case, tabs for worksheets are set up for different work areas. In one worksheet, a checklist might be used to monitor work progress. In another worksheet, there is a model for performing an analysis. There are limited checks and balances available in Excel. Data could be changed unintentionally. It is error-prone. Adhoc, bridge-gap solutions might seem logical but they could complicate work unnecessarily.

Adhoc, bridge-gap solutions might seem logical but they could complicate work unnecessarily. Share on X

‘Inadequate’ tools are costly in terms of the time and money invested for the results realized. It is beneficial for a business to revisit their business objectives and their approaches to ensure that the intended productivity gain is not compromised in how they utilize their tools.

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