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Harmon.ie considers AI for mobile work application fatigue

Application fatigue is not a new phenomenon. Between mobile devices, desktops and tablets, consumers work with dozens of apps, switching between them to access information and perform tasks.

In the company, this phenomenon is starting to be a problem: employees are wasting time jumping from one business application to another, trying to gather data from each, explains David Lavenda, Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy at Harmon.ie, a company that is deploying thematic computing to solve this problem.

“Like a lot of things, it started in the consumer world – with mobile phones, tablets and the cloud – and it’s spreading throughout the business,” Lavenda recently told PYMNTS. “Technology allows people to install their own apps and use whatever they want. You can bypass central IT. This is what it has led to in the business world.

Considering the range of professional applications now available for the enterprise, it’s no surprise that they can overwhelm professionals. Technologies range from cash management applications, such as accounting and expense management, to human resource management and time tracking applications, project management, vacation requests and beyond. Lavenda highlighted SAP and Oracle, which offer dozens of project management applications for businesses and their employees.

These are solutions that promise to increase productivity, efficiency and bottom line. But the truth is not that simple.

Harmon.ie’s latest survey, released last week, found that an average professional uses almost 10 apps at work, with messaging and messaging solutions being the most common and frequently used. It’s hard to quantify the lost productivity due to an employee going back and forth between apps trying to collect information, but according to Harmon.ie, around 40 percent of those surveyed said they needed more. five minutes to find a first draft of a project.

Lavenda quoted historian Melvin Kranzberg as an explanation of the apps problem: “Technology is neither good nor bad; it is not neutral either.

“It really depends on how the apps are used,” the executive said. “The promise of the apps was that you could use whatever you wanted. If I am a team leader, I can choose which project management software I want to use. The freedom of that is a good thing.

“The problem,” he continued, “arises when everyone chooses their own apps and nothing overlaps. How do we make it all work together? That’s where we’re headed.

One solution, of course, is to buy from a single vendor, creating a vendor lock-in and removing that choice, according to Lavenda, was a positive feature of the app world.

Technology may have introduced this conundrum, but, according to Lavenda, technology can solve it.

APIs, for example, have the ability to make it easier to communicate and pass data from one app to another, but that’s only a solution, he said.

“The ability to do it, and the mechanism to do it, is really important,” the executive noted. “There are a number of ways to do it. One of them is to use integration products and projects through backend integration. But while these solutions can display all the information [from multiple apps] in a window, it becomes like a loud Twitter thread. The information is not connected.

Lavenda said the answer exists in artificial intelligence (AI) and thematic computing, which can not only extract information from various applications, but also identify what information the user needs to see. He gave an example of an app notification containing information about a customer’s account. The AI ​​can identify the necessary information of this customer account which can be found in various documents, emails and other applications, extract this information and display this data for the employee without the professional having to manually search for this information. in several applications.

The impact on the company’s bottom line could be significant. A research report released by Sage last week calculated that hundreds of billions of dollars in economic growth have been lost because small businesses spend a lot of time on manual tasks, resulting in decreased productivity. Automating access to information contributes to rediscovered productivity, Lavenda said.

“We know a lot of the problems associated with this come from the consumer world. More and more people… are using many devices, many applications and many interfaces, and it is very difficult to concentrate, ”he said. “You miss things because you don’t see the big picture. The price to pay for dropping tasks because you are not aware of it, because you are not able to get things done in a timely manner, the cost to the business can be quite catastrophic.

The only way to stay on top of current projects, cash management, and other key business functions is to “keep switching between applications, [trying] to gather the information in your own mind, ”he said, which is hardly an efficient way to work.

But using the right technology to interconnect the mountain of apps in the workplace can mean better expense management and greater productivity.

“You save money because people can be more efficient and focus on what they want to do,” Lavenda said. “They use the best apps they want for the job, but the information gets more disconnected, and dropping the ball on something important is going to be a bigger piece of the puzzle than just saving money.”

“There has to be a way to connect things in a meaningful way,” he continued, “otherwise it’s not tenable infrastructure. Many companies will embrace artificial intelligence as a way to extract information from different systems and link them together so people can focus on their work rather than applications.

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