Digital friction & how it's killing productivity | Acro Commerce
Laura Meshen


Laura Meshen

, Content Marketing Specialist

Posted in Digital Transformation

March 4, 2021

Digital friction & how it's killing productivity

As organizations grow, the need to become more efficient and develop new digital technologies increases. So, companies invest in new technologies adding to their ecosystem like patchwork. Rather than realizing increased productivity, employees are having to put in more time and effort to get work done. Faced with multiple solutions and complex workflows, they are met with the burden of digital friction.

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What is digital friction?

“Digital friction is defined as the unnecessary effort an employee has to exert to use data or technology to work.” - Gartner

While companies are spending time and resources to implement new technologies that support their business processes, many are overloading employees with too many digital solutions and increasingly complex workflows. This leads employees to put in more time and effort to finish work. Pretty much the opposite effect of what the intent was in installing new tech solutions.

How is digital friction affecting productivity?

While technology is the primary tool used to improve employee productivity, organizations often fail to recognize and address sources of digital friction. Adding a new digital solution to your operations provides no overall value if it results in new swivel chair processes, or creates new and duplicate manual processes.

Top five sources of digital friction, according to Gartner.

  1. Low-quality data. Fifty-four percent of employees' activities involve data analysis, and poor data quality is the biggest source of digital friction for most employees. Employees spend more than 50% of their time locating, validating and formatting data. This delays task completion and adds a new layer of complexity to their work.
  2. Poor user experience. On average, employees spend half of their work time interacting with digital technologies for work. Yet only 30% of employees rate their user experience as simultaneously productive, empowering and easy. As remote work becomes mainstream, the importance of employee experience and its impact on employee productivity can only increase.
  3. Complex and inconsistent workflows. Technology investments are seldom accompanied by workflow and process updates. Seventy-one percent of employees frequently alter the way they use technologies to fit existing business processes, while 73% state that they regularly have to change their way of working to collaborate with other teams. Organizations’ recent shift toward remote working will only expose new process inefficiencies.
  4. Mundane repetitive tasks. Uncoordinated technology investments and poor systems integrations lead employees to spend extra time moving and manipulating data. In fact, 30% of employees feel that more than half of their work consists of manual and repetitive tasks that distract them from value-added work.
  5. Leadership’s understanding of the solution’s impact. Business executives often make technology investments without fully understanding the impact on daily work. Unsurprisingly, 44% of employees have a neutral or negative opinion when asked if leadership has their best interest in mind when making technology investments.

How to avoid digital friction

Adopting new technologies does not have to result in lost productivity. The important thing to consider when investing in tech solutions that support legacy systems is whether or not the solution is truly adding beneficial value to your business ecosystem. Consider how integrations and workflow automation can work together to make things faster and more streamlined. If adding new technology to your stack doesn't reduce workload, reconsider the value of bringing that solution online.

Need a hand figuring out if the solution you are looking at is going to help meet your business objectives? Talk to one of our ecommerce software consultants for unbiased, platform-agnostic advice. Consulting with experts in workflow automation, legacy integrations and data management is a sure step in making sure you are adopting the right technology for your business.