Lifestyle

Why This Tech CEO Created A Single Place for Teams to Get Work Done


The digital workplace has been a buzzword for years, but there are many versions of what companies think a digital workplace is. For many, it’s meant to create a digital ecosystem of as many tools as possible. But they’re finding that just because employees have more tools to do their job doesn’t mean they’re more productive. In fact, it’s the complete opposite.

“With an overabundance of workplace tools, workers spend more time hopping from one tool to the next to find the conversations, content and data they need to do their job, instead of actually doing the tasks that move the needle for their business,” said Dean Guida, CEO of Infragistics and Founder of Slingshot.

Over his 30 years in business in six countries, Guida has observed teams at hundreds of businesses struggling to bring together their tools to drive decisions. This experience – paired with Guida’s own hard-won workplace philosophy– has since become the foundation for a new digital workplace: Slingshot.

The platform brings together the functionality of tools that companies tend to use separately (think, Asana, Slack and Tableau) so that teams no longer have to switch from app to app to figure out where conversations happened, where content lives, what people are working on, and where data is stored.

I spoke with Guida about his philosophy that sparked the creation of Slingshot and why less is more when it comes to driving productivity in the digital workplace.

Grit Daily: What are some of the biggest obstacle teams run into when they’re spread across multiple tools?

Guida: One of the biggest challenges teams are facing is a lack of transparency. With multiple tools, there’s no way to know what individual team members are working on at any given time, or to quickly see the status of specific items. This leads to far too many status update calls that take time away from employees actually doing their work. Add in the time spent app-switching and finding where content and data live, and workers have very little time left to complete their day-to-day tasks.

Another big obstacle is data. Teams typically don’t have the full picture of what data the company has–or even where to find it (not to mention they likely can’t access it without IT). And with data stored across multiple tools , there’s not one place teams can go to get a quick overview to drive decisions.

Grit Daily: Can you elaborate on the data piece a bit more?

Guida: When teams make data-driven decisions, they drive better business outcomes–it’s that simple.

More often than not teams are avoiding data-driven decisions because they don’t have a holistic view of what data is available to them. Or, if they do end up getting their hands on the data, it’s usually in the form of endless spreadsheets with far too many numbers. When presented in this way it’s pretty much useless to every day employees because they don’t know how to analyze it, nor do they have time to sift through and try to make sense of it.

Marketing teams, for instance, have sales and marketing tools, CRM and ABM tools, data from marketing campaigns and internal data – all which typically exist separately from each other. Without a single location to house all of their data, these teams manage their campaigns , content and more based on bits and pieces of their customer journey, rather than all of it.

Grit Daily: How are you empowering teams to make these data-driven decisions with Slingshot?

Guida: Slingshot connects directly to teams’ operational data and introduces visualization into their daily workflows so they can easily access, analyze and act on the otherwise disparate data they need to drive projects forward.

With Slingshot, team members have access to every piece of data within an organization–and they can actually understand it. We make it extremely simple to transform data from multiple sources into one full view, through visual graphs and charts. This allows teams to assess performance, identify trends, issues and opportunities, and forecast next best actions.

By democratizing data we’re shutting down the ‘loudest or most senior guy in the room is right’ phenomenon that can rule corporate decisions. We’re making it easy for teams to make data-driven decisions–and there’s no doubt that their business will reap the benefits.

Grit Daily: So the data component is a huge differentiator for Slingshot. Is there anything else that distinguishes it from other technologies currently in the market?

Guida: Other technologies can be described under just one label, like productivity platforms, collaboration platforms or communication channels. Slingshot is a digital workplace that has the capabilities of those individual platforms – and more – in one place. We’re providing teams with a single place to get work done in the digital realm.

Grit Daily: How is the digital workplace different from how current remote and hybrid teams are working digitally.

Guida: At its simplest it’s one place to work versus many places to work.

When the majority of workers transitioned to working from home for the first time ever, they had to learn how to effectively communicate and collaborate with team members outside of the office. Not to mention they had to drive productivity in a space traditionally reserved for their personal life. Companies onboarded an abundance of tools to help its newly remote employees do their jobs at home, but the more tools they had, the less productive teams were.

The digital workplace is the virtual equivalent of the traditional workplace, which is part of what distinguishes it from simply working remotely using a smorgasbord of digital tools. And teams cannot be productive and drive results in an organization if they’re spending their time app- switching and trying to find where content, data and conversations live.

With Slingshot, we’re offering a one-stop shop for teams to not only do their work–but do it well. And because everything is happening in one digital platform, every team member can see projects and individual tasks unfold in real-time . For instance, a team member can share insight from a dashboard in a discussion group with annotations, align with the full team on that insight and then create a list of tasks assigned to team members to ensure execution of next steps. We’re making it is possible to not only go from insight to action quickly, but to use it to improve business outcomes.

Grit Daily: The way people work has changed so much over the past few years – how do you see the workplace continuing to evolve?

Guida: As teams continue to work in hybrid and fully remote settings, we’ll see the workforce become more digitally skilled. This means workers will have high expectations for the tools they use to do their job and connect with their teams. They’ll expect these tools to be available on every device and screen size, so they can work from anywhere, and that they’re actually enjoyable to work with–from how they look to how easy they are to navigate.

We’ll also see data become more integrated in teams’ day-to-day. With more tools available to teams to access, analyze and actually understand data, every team member will be able to look to data to drive decisions. Companies already have so much data–and there will be even more available as time goes on–so being able to access it and act on it will be a non-negotiable for teams.

Zoe Ashbridge is a contributor at Grit Daily. She’s spent the last ten years working in and writing about technology, digital marketing, SEO, ecommerce and entrepreneurship.



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