2023 Aprimo Survey: The Complex Pursuit of Simplicity

An Aprimo survey of U.S. managers and executives reveals that using too many apps to simplify your life may reach a point of diminishing returns.

Purpose of This Study

While frazzled professionals continue to turn to apps like Todoist, Slack, Zoom, and Trello to simplify their busy lives, a new study from Aprimo reveals that once managers and executives begin integrating more than 10 such apps into their daily routines, the benefits diminish rapidly.

The 2023 Aprimo Survey: The Complex Pursuit of Simplicity, conducted for Aprimo March 3-4 by the third-party survey platform Pollfish, asked 750 U.S. managers and executives about their pursuit of simplicity in their home and work lives?and the apps they used to aid them in this pursuit.

Key Findings

Americans overwhelmingly desire simpler lives at work and home, and many say life has only gotten more complicated since Covid.

When asked, ?Would you like to make your life simpler?? 77% of respondents said yes. Among these respondents, 82% said they were most interested in simplifying either their work lives (22%) or both their work and home lives (60%). 

The changes to our lives since the Covid pandemic have been a challenge for many, as 39% of respondents said their lives are more complex today than before Covid. That compares to 37% who said their lives are simpler than before Covid, and 24% who said they were neither more nor less complex.

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Most Americans believe in the power of apps to simplify their lives?but when they begin using too many, the value rapidly declines.

90% of respondents said they currently use one or more apps in an attempt to simplify their lives, with 65% of these respondents saying they use at least six different apps to simplify their lives, and 12% saying they use more than 15 apps for this purpose.

However, there was not a direct correlation between the number of apps downloaded and respondents? success in using them. When asked, ?Overall, has your use of apps been successful in simplifying your life?? those using 6-10 apps reported the best results, with those using more or fewer reporting lower satisfaction levels?with the worst results for those using more than 20 apps.

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Survey respondents said they found challenges in integrating simplicity apps into their daily routines and in using them in conjunction with other apps.

When an app proved unsuccessful in helping a respondent to simplify an aspect of their lives, it was generally not because the user lost motivation. In most cases, the respondent experienced usability problems?problems often made more challenging by their use of other apps.

When apps failed to simplify their lives, 44% of respondents said it was because they could not figure out how to use it in their daily routines, 43% said it was because the app was too complex to use, and 40% said it was difficult to use the app in conjunction with other apps they were using.

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Health and fitness apps proved the most popular among respondents, while organization and time management apps were the most polarizing.

When asked, ?Which categories of apps do you currently use in an attempt to simplify your life?? the most popular responses were health and fitness apps (48%), organization and time management apps (45%), productivity and task management apps (42%), personal finance apps (42%), and communication and collaboration apps (39%).

When asked which of these app categories had been ?most successful? and ‘least successful? in simplifying their lives, the top answer to both questions was the same: organization and time management apps. While 39% of respondents said these apps had been ?most successful? in simplifying their lives, 29% said they had been ‘least successful? in simplifying their lives.

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Respondents were generally optimistic that advances in AI would make both their work and home lives simpler in the future.

Respondents were asked about the presence of AI technology in their current apps, as well as future potential uses of AI.

Many respondents were unaware that AI technology is already a component of many of the apps they use every day. For example, while nearly half of the respondents (48%) knew that Google Maps uses AI, fewer than one in five knew that Zoom (17%), Salesforce (15%), and Slack (11%) use AI as well.

While not always knowing which apps include AI technology, most respondents shared a positive view of how AI currently impacts their lives. When asked if AI technology currently makes their lives simpler or more complex, 59% of respondents said that AI simplifies their work lives, and 57% said it simplifies their personal lives.

Respondents also expressed optimism about AI’s future role in making their lives simpler. When asked, ?As Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology develops and becomes even more sophisticated and widespread over the next few years, what overall effect do you think it will have on your life?? 54% responded that ?it will make both my personal life and work life simpler.?

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Erik Huddleston, chief executive officer of Aprimo, said the survey suggests that U.S. managers and executives crave simplicity in their work and home lives, but that this goal too often proves elusive. That’s one reason so many respondents are eager to see the future solutions AI can provide.

?Many professionals are overwhelmed by the demands of daily life today. That’s why they seek out apps and tools to help them better organize, prioritize, and collaborate. But as this survey shows, simply downloading more apps will ultimately reach a point of diminishing returns,? Huddleston said.

At Aprimo, we believe what’s true for individuals is true for companies as well. The key to simplifying operations is not to keep adding the latest shiny objects to your tech stack, but to streamline your use of technology at a foundational level. In the business of content operations, that means having a single source of truth to be used by all stakeholders in the organization.

Erik Huddleston


Aprimo used the third-party survey platform Pollfish to conduct a survey of 750 U.S. salaried workers serving in managers or executive roles on Mar. 3-4, 2023. Researchers reviewed all responses for quality control.

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