Bloated tech has Aussies burnt out
IT professionals spend nearly a full workday each week (an average of seven hours and 19 minutes) dealing with bloatware — unwanted, overly complicated SaaS add-ons and features that hinder productivity and cause frustration at work. The cost of trying to use unhelpful technology amounts to more than US$84bn (AU$122bn) in wasted time annually in the United States alone.
A new report from Freshworks titled ‘State of Workplace Technology: Bloatware — the difference between love and hate for workplace tech’ surveyed the interactions of 2000 global IT professionals with workplace technology. The report found that 89% of respondents waste time each week due to bloated technology, a distraction from their core responsibilities that undermines the bottom line.
IT pros want more of less
Despite widespread innovation and a societal movement toward simple, easy-to-use apps, the new study reveals that bloatware is a persistent and pernicious problem for organisations.
IT professionals report that they have an average of 14 different applications available for use on their work computer, but only actively use half of them — meaning 50% are a distraction that lowers overall system performance. Almost every respondent (94%) said their company could benefit from reducing overall software contracts, while seven in 10 (71%) said their organisation would benefit from simpler software.
The problem is widespread and substantial, with IT professionals reporting bloatware infiltrates many aspects of their work. Notable findings include:
- Too much clutter. Over half (54%) say their organisation pays for SaaS features that their IT teams never use.
- Work software is overly complex. 40% say too much of their tech stack is hard to use.
- It’s expensive. 45% say their organisation spends too much on its tech stack, while over one-third (34%) believe their company doesn’t know how to stop paying for unnecessary services.
Fragmented solutions. Nearly two-thirds (63%) prefer a single software solution for IT service management rather than several applications.
Despite these costly and frustrating issues with software, seven in 10 (70%) IT pros have hesitations about sharing feedback on their software. Why? One in five don’t want to be seen as a complainer (21%) and say their company has a history of ignoring feedback (21%), while 17% don’t believe they’ll be listened to.
“Technology is critical for business success in today’s digital-first world, but far too many organisations are distracted by software they don’t want and can’t use to deliver on their full potential,” said Professor Joe Peppard, former Principal Research Scientist at MIT Sloan School of Management.
“With costs approaching $100bn, the impact of IT bloatware on businesses is far larger than most realised. More software isn’t always better, and CIOs realise it’s time to break the doom cycle of bloatware to help employees and businesses succeed,” Peppard said.
Frustrating software hurts motivation and performance
Almost unanimously, IT pros are not satisfied with their organisation’s software. Nearly nine in 10 (89%) said they have frustrations, with the leading reasons being: it slows down their work (35%); it lacks flexibility (33%); and it requires multiple programs to do their job effectively (30%). More worryingly, bad software also hurts work performance and decreases morale.
Other notable findings include:
- Bloatware contributes to the ‘Great Resignation’— one-third of IT workers (36%) say being forced to use outdated legacy software makes them want to quit their job.
- Bloatware harms mental health — eight in 10 (82%) are burnt out and more than one-third (36%) say they are the most burnt out they’ve ever been in their career. They see bloated software as part of the problem, with 42% reporting that easier-to-use software would help reduce their burnout.
- Better software can be part of the solution — IT professionals say that easier-to-use software (42%) and software that reduces workload (37%) would help reduce burnout.
IT pros will give up a lot for better software
Sixty per cent of survey respondents said they hate using outdated legacy software that isn’t easy to use. Many are so frustrated with the software that they are willing to give up benefits, including:
- 44% are willing to give up more vacation days
- 41% are willing to give up more parental leave
- 33% are willing to give up more sick/wellness days
“Legacy SaaS providers may have had good intentions by offering more add-ons and features, but the era of complexity has backfired and is bogging down businesses’ ability to deliver,” said Prasad Ramakrishnan, CIO at Freshworks.
“As we enter a slowdown in the economy, the C-suite is re-examining their tech stack to prioritise solutions that deliver maximum productivity, not complexity and burnout. This is what we build for, and it showcases that bloatware needs to go”.
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