How to Tackle App Sprawl in the Modern Workplace

As business processes ramp up in their complexity, leaders tackle far more in their roles than ever before. But they don’t feel effective: Less than half of leaders felt strong in their work execution.

That’s according to Chris Marsh, research director at 451 Research who presented to Nintex xchange attendees last month in San Diego. His team found that 63 percent of leaders use workflows with more than 100 steps across disparate applications. Thirty-eight percent use workflows with more than 200 steps. For many businesses, it’s just become too much – they’re operating in a state of chaos.

During his presentation, Marsh dove into the complicated landscapes business leaders face. Through his research, Marsh paints a picture of business productivity hindered by app sprawl.

The growth of SaaS tools allows us to manage every process from HR practices to asset creation to sales and marketing efforts. Each tool offers unique value, but that value diminishes if users can’t collaborate across the applications and workflows. As valuable data and processes remain stuck in tools by team, organizations face the following challenges:

  • Collaboration silos:

    Each team picks a tool that works best for their function. Unfortunately, this process makes it nearly impossible to share data and collaborate across teams. These tools were purchased to bring teams together, but wind up as the cause for information becoming siloed within one platform and one team.

  • Manual error:

    Working across multiple apps means data is shared across platforms, but not necessarily updated in real-time from one platform to another. Any incorrect data entered in one platform may be replicated repeatedly in other apps without ever being corrected. This leads to wasted time and effort on all fronts.

  • Dominance of low-value work:

    Platforms intended to streamline and simplify work often do the opposite. Low-level tasks like data entry occupy too much time from the work day, and employees spend less time and energy on the high-level tasks they were originally hired to do.

  • Dead ends:

    Employees purchase tools they think will solve their problems only to find they can’t get the job done. In leaning on tools to handle an entire workflow, they reach a dead end, rendering the apps obsolete.

  • Rejection:

    Employees eventually become so frustrated that they ditch enterprise tools for convenient public apps that aren’t work-sanctioned. While this may get the work done in the short term, any employee that uses a non-secure platform adds immense risk to an organization. Unapproved apps certainly aren’t a sustainable solution.

Too many applications cause more trouble than they’re worth. But despite their lack of collaboration abilities, those business apps remain essential. So how can teams build better experiences with less friction? Workflow automation technologies should be brought in to serve as the glue between all the disparate tools and processes.

Consider the challenges for today’s sales teams: About 57 percent of sales professionals spend up to an hour on data entry each day. Half can’t track content efficacy across the sales cycle, and 49 percent struggle to ensure sales knowledge is up to date. But Box and Nintex share a mission to transform the way sales and other business teams work.

Priya Patel, group manager at Box, explained during the xchange session featuring both 451 Research and Box how Nintex integration brings content creation, advanced workflow and process intelligence to any sales team looking to build more intuitive, effective workflows.

In practice, workflow automation and content creation add crucial value for sales team tasks, including:

  • Always up-to-date sales data and best practices available to all team members in real time.
  • Less time spent on manual data entry and more time spent selling and building relationships.
  • Sales processes such as routing contracts, responding to RFPs and finalizing NDAs flow seamlessly from evaluation, edits and signing with intelligent routing and redlining.

Considering today’s sales cycle is more difficult and marketing campaigns are more complex, it’s imperative that sales teams be able to streamline their processes to make the most of every opportunity. That’s exactly what Nintex and Box are doing. Together the two companies are making it possible for their mutual customers to create workflow and content management processes that span systems and applications.

Thanks to the burgeoning partnership between Nintex and Box, tactical workflows can be elevated into a strategic operation, freeing sales teams to use their expertise to close sales, not edit contracts. The rest of the business world is due to find a similar harmony.

Miss attending Nintex xchange last month? Read more on our Nintex blog for session recaps and other key takeaways on digital transformation, workflow automation, forms, document generation, intelligent process automation capabilities and more. Watch the 451 and Box session on-demand here.