The cure for corporate culture ills

Good morning! Employees are drowning in a sea of ​​applications. But bailing them out is a trickier challenge than it seems.

Fight software bloat

1,200. This is the number of times, on average, an office worker switches from one application to another during a working day. Equally surprising, the number of apps run by the average business has grown to 187, a huge jump from 77 in 2015. And some have many, many more. But despite the growth of computing over the past seven years, worker productivity has slowed at a slow pace, according to federal data, which begs the question: What’s the benefit of all this technology?

It’s no surprise that businesses are cluttered with so many potentially useless apps. For decades, IT vendors convinced businesses that whatever inefficiencies they had, they could be fixed by adopting yet another new program.

  • The rise of software as a service has only exacerbated this problem, as it has made it easier for companies to deploy new products, increasingly without going through IT gatekeepers.
  • Add to the fact that most large companies have acquired a slew of smaller companies, all with their own unique computing stacks, plus the pivot to remote working, which seems to require a whole new set of apps, and it’s easy to see how quickly the portfolio spirals out of control.

Industry experts note, behind the scenes, that most technology portfolios within companies are glued together. Not all software is snake oil. But many are unable to succeed in isolation. Instead, the real value comes when various apps work together. That’s why companies like Oracle have long touted the potential cost savings from consolidating their suites.

  • This is more of a promise than a reality, even for products purchased from the same supplier. This forces companies to enlist the costly help of consultants and even more software vendors to help put these disparate systems together.

These efforts clearly did not succeed. Users are still forced to switch between tons of different systems to get their work done. Basic tasks still require extensive human intervention. And businesses still can’t get immediate answers to basic questions like, “How many employees do I have?”

  • CEOs and technology leaders have few options. Once the software is deployed throughout the company, it is difficult to reject an application due to, among other things, employee rejection. Even though those monthly bills add up, the return on investment rarely justifies the cost. It’s easier to let things go.
  • And that’s why companies like Oracle and IBM continue to reap the dough from aging software. This is slowly changing as new options emerge. But even as these companies turn to modern technology, many of these legacy systems are still running in the background.
  • Part of the problem also lies in the work dynamics in a company. If a department receives a budget for technology, it will spend it.

There’s a shift happening in the enterprise software world that promises a solution. Instead of building software targeted at a specific function, vendors are increasingly trying to build tools to manage entire processes. Instead of just sourcing, for example, image software that handles everything from sourcing to logistics to payment.

  • That’s why marketing materials from Salesforce, ServiceNow and Microsoft are now hyper-focused on the concept of “workflow”, which means integrating widely used systems under a single user interface to try to prevent the dreaded change of tab. It’s basically a band-aid for the underlying problem of app bloat that came from those same vendors overselling customers on things they probably didn’t need.
  • There are also significant investments in programs capable of analyzing information stored in multiple central systems in a company, a trend that promises to allow companies to finally use the decades of data they have collected to advantage. competitive.
  • And new vendors are building their core systems so that external sources can be connected more easily. Combining Asana and Slack, for example, can make it easier for managers to track employee work without that pesky app switch.

Software is an industry that was built on over-promise and under-delivery. But despite some horror stories, it’s clear that companies that invest in the right technology early can outpace their rivals very quickly.

  • As IT seeps deeper into the business, it is imperative that leaders become smarter buyers, a difficult task as vendors constantly push new payment models and must-have technology “categories”.
  • A smart business is no longer one that simply burns a lot of money to get tons of shiny new apps. Increasingly, as programs become more advanced, it takes a very strategic approach to be successful – and with it, dedicated talent to support integrations. Alongside developers, for example, the IT department may consider hiring user experience experts to streamline the work.

Tech leaders love to say that we’re still only at the beginning of a long digital modernization journey. If so, buckle up, because the road ahead is bumpy. And given the software industry’s track record, sometimes customers have to create their own.


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The best of protocol

  • Jensen Huang and his wife, Lori Huang, donate $50 million to Oregon State University for a new innovation complex that will include an Nvidia supercomputer. The investment, Huang said, aims to help people simulate the future, using AI to “predict the impact of climate science and the magnitude of the impact in different parts of the world.”

Confessions of a Metaverse Unicorn – Janko Roettgers

  • Horizon Worlds is relatively barren, with only around 200,000 total users. Protocol’s Janko Roettgers is one of 200,000 people who fell in love with Arena Clash, which the company described as “a team-based laser tag game” earlier this year. Even with its glitches and moderation challenges, Arena Clash is proof that Horizon Worlds can actually be fun.

AWS has a clear advantage among enterprise cloud markets: it has the most customers — Donna Goodison

  • Since its launch in 2012, AWS Marketplace has made a name for itself as the most mature cloud application marketplace among the big three vendors – and many software vendors see it as a crucial part of their go-to-market strategy. market. Its secret is its “private offers,” which allow SaaS companies to negotiate custom licensing agreements, pricing, and payment schedules with customers without leaving Amazon’s marketplace.

Connecting crypto wallets is scary. Plaid wants to change that. — Tomio Geron

  • Plaid’s latest product, which helps developers connect consumer crypto wallets to their apps, aims to make crypto more secure. But it also fuels an ongoing debate about how crypto can be decentralized while meeting consumer needs for secure, easy-to-use apps.

Maryland’s Digital Ad Tax Shows How Tough a ‘Simple’ Policy Can Be – Ben Brody

  • A Maryland court struck down the state’s first tax on Big Tech’s digital ads. The ruling could force several states considering similar laws back to the drawing board and shows how tricky Big Tech regulation can be, even with something as simple as a tax.

Salesforce Please: The Definition of “Team” is Evolving — Allison Levitsky

  • The next stage of work is not just to rethink what it means to be in an office, but to rethink what it means to be part of a team, said Kat Holmes, senior vice president of user experience and design. of products at Salesforce, at Protocol. For some companies, being part of a team doesn’t mean working on the same product, but rather being in the same space and finding “a connection that can be made through that local community.”

Carbon removal has a funding gap. This climatic association tries to fill it. — Michelle Ma

  • Big tech companies like Microsoft, Alphabet, and Salesforce are all committed to eliminating carbon dioxide. Terraset, a nonprofit that came out of stealth mode this week, is stepping in to help channel private philanthropy into the nascent field to fill its funding gap.

Why Security Teams Are Losing Trust in the Term “Zero Trust” — Kyle Alspach

  • The cybersecurity term “zero trust” is cryptic, overused, and often misinterpreted. When used correctly, experts agree it’s the best way to stop cyberattacks in their tracks. But vendors who attribute the title of “zero trust” to every cybersecurity product they offer are confusing security teams.


The flexibility of the cloud helps companies like Capital One unlock access to their data with performance that can scale instantly. But this flexibility and scalability can also create a unique challenge for organizations and users unfamiliar with cloud optimization.

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