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Do you know how much time is spent switching between applications?

It’s a beautiful day, with sunshine and a pleasant temperature. Annelie is on her way to the office. There she works in a fairly standard administrative job, where the computer is a big part of her everyday life. She uses a wide variety of systems on a daily basis.

She doesn’t know it, but by the time she goes home this afternoon, she will have switched between 22 different applications about 3,500 times. Both in-house and in the cloud.

3,500 switches between different applications, that’s quite a lot. This is according to studies published in the Harvard Business Review. They also measured how much time it takes to adapt to the applications you need to work with. Adaptations are needed as they do not look the same.

It turns out that changing and adapting, or set-up times as they are referred to in industry, takes up 9% of a person’s working time. If we set a cost price for a person in a business at €50 per hour (very reasonably calculated), then this 9% is worth €9157 per year. If the business then has 100 people, all of whom, like Annelie, work in the office, the cost of all this switching of applications is worth over nine million kronor.

Does it have to be this way? Isn’t this just a natural cost of working? A natural part of the job?

No, I don’t think so. It is not realistic for us to just sit and work in one system. But to allow us and our staff to be a bridge between all these different applications, I don’t think that’s reasonable. There are ways to avoid it.

It is not reasonable for Annelie to sit and switch from one application to another to retrieve information, which is transferred to the first application and then on to the next and the next. Or maybe she just needs to check one thing here, one thing there, and so on, before she can do her job, that’s not reasonable either.

You’ve probably heard me talk about BPM, which stands for Business Process Management. It is both a theory on how to think to manage an organization more effectively, but also a technique that allows Annelie not to work as I describe above.

Instead of fetching, writing and reading information in a variety of applications, we gather the necessary information in one place where Annelie can read it and perform her task. If the task involves transferring information from her activities and decisions back to different applications, this is also done automatically.

Annelie will look for a place where she has all the necessary information to do her job. Once she has done so, any updates are propagated to the different applications involved.

During the late summer and autumn, we will hold our appreciated training Digitalized business. We will go through how the above works and both how you need to think and what you need to do to make it work.

We have been running the training for a few years now and as we live and breathe continuous improvement.

Please contact me if you have any questions, challenges or requests related to digitalization – I will answer them and make sure they are included in the training.