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Do you or someone you know have a digital addiction? Chances are, the answer is “yes.” After all, more than 80 percent of consumers check their smartphones within an hour of getting out of bed and access close to 40 apps per month. It’s gotten so bad that even manufacturers are seeking ways to curb users’ addictions, with companies like Apple and Samsung introducing software that helps people monitor their own screen time.

But digital addiction isn’t just something that plagues everyday consumers; marketers are falling victim to the problem, too. They’re buying apps in droves to solve their own immediate challenges. Problem is, they’re not taking the time to consider the impact their purchases will have on their companies’ strategic investments or their own workplace productivity.

 

The cloud is fuel for the addiction

Clearly, consumer habits have transferred to the workplace. People expect the same type of services when they set foot in their offices as they do when at home, at a cafe, or on the subway. They’re used to downloading what they need, when they need it. Cloud services make this quick, easy, and cheap.

Sometimes they’re even free. Think of the widespread use of “freemium” subscription-based applications available to today’s business. Now, anyone can enter in a credit card, download an app, and enjoy a free trial period. But this can easily lead to the overprovisioning of SaaS apps across the organization.

Apps can dehumanize teamwork

Just as personal apps on our smartphones isolate and distract us from the people, moments, and things going on around us, apps in the workplace can also dehumanize teamwork. We turn to apps to solve a problem, to help drive collaboration, but they often have the opposite effect – replacing face-to-face interactions, disconnecting us from each other, sucking up our time, and impacting our effectiveness.

Too many apps can also lead to an overwhelming number of push notifications and a mind-boggling number of applications to monitor – Google Docs, Outlook, Hubspot, Trello, Basecamp, Skype, and more. That’s a lot of noise and information competing for your finite attention and distracting you from more important matters.  Plus, how can you be sure that you’re working from where everyone else is?

Digital addiction brings strategic strife, too

A new app here and a new account there can lead to big problems over time.

With SaaS spending expected to double by 2020, in addition to overprovisioning, digital addiction will lead to overspending and underinvestment in in-house expertise. As apps pile on, it can become increasingly difficult to understand what’s being used and, even more important, make the right investments in training or institutional expertise. And with hundreds of apps deployed, there’s the inevitable problem of unnecessary overlap. Even a relatively small 100-person business unit can end up deploying four or five different chatbots simply because of a disconnect between departments.

Get help now

If this sounds like you or your organization, admit it–you have a digital addiction. The struggle is that apps are a must-have if you’re to realize greater agility, efficiencies, and improved customer experiences. The trick is to become more mindful about getting more out of the tools you use and make smarter investments in the ones you buy in the future.

Stay tuned for our next post in which we’ll outline steps to do just that.