How Becoming a Software Minimalist Can Dramatically Improve Your Efficiency

When it comes to your business's approach, as the old adage goes, less is more.

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By Tom Popomaronis

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There are tens of thousands of available software products that can improve the way your business runs, so it's no surprise that companies frequently managing too many applications at once. The very innovation that was supposed to improve workflow might suddenly become a major roadblock to efficiency.

So while it's tempting to adopt each exciting new application as it's introduced, taking a minimalistic approach toward software services will ensure you and your team are more productive in the long run. Here's why.

Avoiding Shadow IT

Companies that are growing rapidly often experience shadow IT, or any software purchased or used without being properly approved by the IT department. When a given tech solution goes unnoticed by most of the company, it can even be forgotten entirely. Subscription renewals and payments go through without anyone remembering, former employees can retain access to sensitive resources and cybersecurity vulnerabilities can run rampant.

Indeed, shadow IT can be very costly, and the best way to avoid it is to adopt a company culture of software minimalism. With a small number of services to work with, it's much easier to train each employee in the software's full use. It's also far simpler to track the subscription-renewal timelines of all your SaaS applications when you only have a few to work with.

Drastically Shrinking Your Workload

Well-managed software services speed up your workflow by allowing apps to do the menial tasks that would've taken an employee hours. However, each new software application involves training employees, learning new routines and tracking license agreements. Even though these services are meant to improve the way your business runs, when the applications add up, it can feel like a chore.

Additionally, unnecessary software applications could lead to a workflow that isn't uniform. Employees work more efficiently together as a team when workflows align with each other. Complicated processes that involve using several software applications can get in the way of this.

It's important to track the software services in use at your company and deem whether they're necessary. You don't want to waste time training employees on redundant software, and you don't want to complicate your employees's routines.

Related: 6 Steps to Managing Your Overwhelming Workload

Preventing Security Breaches

With numerous, and possibly mismanaged, software services, security can become a major issue. An average data breach costs $3.92 million, according to a 2019 IBM report.

Breaches often happen when businesses don't maintain strict control over who has access to information. When former employees, for example, still have a way in to your software applications, they're most likely not checking to see if their account is still secure, exposing the company to hackers.

A case study published by Torii, a SaaS management tool, found that Pipedrive, a rapidly growing cloud-based company, was having difficulty maintaining security and efficiency with its numerous SaaS applications, making challenging to track employee accounts after they left the company. They also struggled with keeping track of the type of data being shared across various external apps.

Pipedrive was able to improve the management of their software by implementing a SaaS-management tool, allowing them to uncover applications that were unnecessary or no longer in use. Consequently, they were generally able to function much more efficiently and with more security.

A secure company is an efficient one. The two concepts go hand-in-hand.

Related: 5 Ways to Avoid a Costly Data Security Breach

Allowing for Quicker Onboarding

According to a 2019 Training Industry Report, it costs an average of $1,296 to train a new employee. Those costs increase as the workflow at a company gets more complicated. Limiting software use to only those applications that are absolutely necessary speeds up this process.

Shortening onboarding is one of the most potent ways to increase efficiency in your company. The sooner employees are up and running at full capacity, the more resources you save. And make sure veteran employees are experts in each application. Otherwise, trainers will wind up stumbling over explanations and confusing new hires. Or worse, they'll train them incorrectly, causing an enormous amount of wasted resources. Undertrained employees will inevitably underperform and likely have to go through training a second time.

It's easy to ensure proper onboarding when you minimize the number of software services at your company. If each employee who touches the software is not expert in its use, you might have too complicated of a system. And that will definitely affect your bottom line.

Tom Popomaronis

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Executive Vice President of Innovation at Massive Alliance

Tom Popomaronis is executive vice president of innovation at Massive Alliance, a global agency that provides executive-reputation management and leadership-branding services.

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