With the recent sporting events it’s been fascinating to see how far professionals go to try to ‘smooth’ their way through to success.  Seamless skin suits, aerodynamically shaped helmets, ultra light rackets, cycle frames and even shaven heads and legs are all deemed critical to improve performance results.  The emphasis is on reducing friction to gain vital competitive advantage that can make the difference between an awesome victory and a commendable runner up place.

The same is true in business.  Honestly.  OK, maybe we don’t ask employees to swap their business wardrobes for skin suits and there are no hairy leg checks on arrival at the office but increasingly businesses are using digital tools to ‘smooth’ ways of working and claim precious productivity gains.  

Take the all too familiar clunky workflow interfaces that many of us grapple with as part of our standard ERP platform.   There are now innovative modifications that transform screen layouts to reduce ‘clicks to completion’ and they don’t need an army of tech support people to make it happen.  Likewise, mobile apps mean you can authorise and process work without having to fire up a laptop and find a connection.   Finding critical information just got easier too as social media tools such as Yammer and Jam make crowd-sourcing knowledge a no-brainer.   Everyone likes to share what they know and chances are it’s the most up to date information available, so why waste time trying to guess the right search combination?   The same collaborative network can ensure that ‘lessons learned’ go viral overnight without you having to crank up the management cascade. 

Digital tools that make it easier for people to do their work well tend to increase productivity and reduce levels of frustration and stress.   As we get smarter around using the ‘internet of things’ our ability to reduce the friction points at work and at home will increase.  Want to adjust your home heating from the office?  No problem, get the app.  Need to understand why infrastructure assets are not operating properly?   Use the same technology to interrogate the onboard data manager without leaving your chair.  The trick is to construct the winning blend of digital tools to suit the business you’re in and then push for better results.   

Still not ready to take the plunge into digital?   Good luck with the leg waxing then.