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  • Writer's pictureJoel T. Sanders

Why I'm Quitting SAAS Tools and Returning to Lightweight Systems Like Email & Hand-Written Notebooks

Updated: Jul 4, 2020

In the last few months I've started unplugging some of my SAAS tools for good, and limiting my use of others. The result has been more flexibility, more focus, less data entry, and better decision-making.

The biggest shift is nixing the business ops software I was using to manage client strategic plans. Instead of using a custom tool designed for goals, commitments, and scorecard tracking, we're using a simple weekly email, or an email plus a Google Doc.

Now, the Leadership Meeting Recap email goes straight to everyone's inbox with the high-level Lead Measures, Results Measures, Milestones, 7-Day Commitments and Future Discussion topics in one easy place.

The open-canvas format of the email is more flexible and easier to update than the business ops software. Just copy and paste the email from the previous week into a new email, delete the previous week's discussion topics and re-populate the template with the latest notes and updates.

The biggest benefit of nixing any SAAS tool is having one less system to check into and maintain every week. It was painfully obvious in client meetings that most team members were logging into the business ops software minutes prior to each meeting, in a rush to remind themselves of what they had committed to the previous week.

In most cases they had done what they said they would, they had just captured their task lists in whatever system they personally follow. While the SAAS tool was able to help structure company thinking, it was robbing everyone of valuable time and attention.

It seems that SAAS tools need us more than we truly need them. They all require a human to input information before anything useful comes out. CEOs and other executives aren't paid to do data entry, and yet that's what every SAAS tool requires, sucking up far more time than most realize.

Bottom line: I'm finding that by using email and other lightweight tools like Google Docs, Spreadsheets, and even spiral-bound notebooks, we're getting far more of the right work done.

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