Too Much of a Good Thing: Manage Your Small Business Apps

This post is sponsored by Samsung Business. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

There is no doubt technology has leveled the playing field for small businesses.  Not only has it made it less expensive to launch a business, it also helps you to be more productive and profitable.  However, you know what they say about too much of a good thing!  Well, too many applications could impede your business success.

If you’re like many small business owners, you and your team have downloaded myriad apps onto your laptop and mobile devices because they seemed useful at one point in time.  Of course, almost every day, there is another cool app introduced, and you just have to have it too.  It’s known as “app creep” and before you know it, you’re overwhelmed.

According to a report by Intermedia – Death by 1000 Cloud Apps — small businesses are being bogged down by an over-abundance of apps.  As a result, you have too many choices, and too much to manage.  Additionally, you have multiple log-ins which can create a security risk.

Time Constraints and Choices

With so many apps to choose from, it’s hard for small businesses to know which ones are the best fit for their business.  As a result, choices are often made that actually create additional work because they don’t collaborate with other critical business applications.  For example, a small business may find that the app they use for tracking time and expenses, doesn’t connect with their bookkeeping system.   That simply creates additional work.

To help you make the right choices, ask for referrals from other small businesses.  You may also find it helpful to go to social review sites to see what others are saying.  Then do your homework.  Make sure the apps you choose all work together.  And finally, consider the training and support available with each application choice.  If you don’t know how to use the app correctly, it’s once again going to zap your productivity.

Why Managing the Madness is Critical

According to the math presented in the above mentioned report, if you have 15 people using an average of 5.5 apps each, that’s 82.5 accounts that will need to be managed day in and day out. Of course, as more apps get added and the business evolves, there are all kinds of data migration and integration issues that must be managed.

Here’s some more math from the report: It takes an average of 20 seconds to login to an app; that means that a 75-person small business can rack up more than 570 wasted hours and $13,900 per year in lost productivity. You know the old saying, “The devil is in the details.” Small details add up over time and unfortunately because they are small they often go unnoticed. Advice: start noticing.

Okay, I’m worn out just talking through these issues so here are a few ideas to help you take control.

To begin to manage the madness, start by making a list of all the current apps your team and you already have.  As mentioned above, do they all work together?  Are there redundancies in the app utilities?  Streamline your list to those apps that provide the most value to your business by making your operations more efficient.

 Security Risk

In addition to being a productivity issue, too many apps create security risks as well.  Most of the cloud-based apps you deploy will handle personal data and/or company information that you need to protect. Multiplying your apps, multiplies your risk. Further, employees will have many apps, both personal and business, deployed on a variety of devices which can be lost, stolen or inadvertently left somewhere in a “logged in” state.

Minimizing the number of apps your team uses can help control your security risk. You
may also want to consider a product such as Samsung KNOX.  KNOX  secures mobile devices at both the hardware and software layer for both personal and business data.   When you don’t have a big IT department to manage your security risk, a product such as this can give you a little peace of mind.

At the end of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” when Harrison Ford carefully evaluates each vessel and finally grabs one, the attending knight pronounces, “You have selected wisely.” Small businesses need to take the same care and caution when committing to a cloud-based app, otherwise instead of enhancing your business, you’ll be making more work for yourself, decreasing your productivity and impacting your profitability.

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