ENVISIO: A micromanager’s dream

Envisio brands itself as “secure, reliable cloud-based strategy management software” and boasts its ability to allow managers to communicate strategy, manage accountability, and drive results.

Essentially, Envisio allows managers to set a strategic plan (it has tools to help those managers create that plan), assign resources (people) to tasks within the plan, track their employees progress on those tasks, and view the results at the end of the plan. The level of control a manager can have on a task within Envisio is so detailed that they can even allocate the amount of time to be spent on various topics for a meeting that they’re not even going to. The fastest growing market for Envisio seems to be education where the demand for teacher accountability is mounting. An administrator of a school district which recently became an Envisio client stated that one of the appeals of the software is its ability to help the school build “transparent and accountable work cultures with staff that are aligned with strategic deliverables.”

Indeed, everything on Envisio’s website reeks of draconian levels of micromanagement so high that even this guy would be unsure about it: download

For example, in the “Inspire Ownership” section of Envisio’s website it states “Keep resources (people) focused by allocating them to actions related to your organization’s success. Dashboards enable everyone on your team to quickly and easily evaluate both individual and organizational performance.” Nothing I read about Envisio truly talked about making the work of employees easier or smoother, nor did anything discuss making employees more satisfied or productive. Envisio is about providing manager’s another tool to micromanage employees rather than implementing human managerial best practices.

To be fair, Envisio has outstanding reviews from multiple sources and has a growing client base. Further, I found some less-micromanagey uses for the software — project management and disparate teams.

While Envisio’s website, blog, or 33-minute webinar doesn’t mention project management, that’s really where the tool’s usability lies. Multiple reviewers mention how helpful the software is for managing multiple projects, ensuring project tasks are meeting milestones, and assessing the results of projects once completed. This is where Envisio’s tracking capabilities make sense — when someone has too much to juggle to keep it all straight.

Likewise, Envisio makes sense for teams that are not physically in the same place as one another. As anyone who has worked on… let’s say, a group paper for, uh… let’s say a graduate school program can tell you — it’s frustrating. How do we divide up work? When is everything due? Who is working on what? When will people have their pieces to me so I can do my part? It’s a mess and the email chains get insanely long. A tool like Envisio would make that workflow much smoother as everyone could claim tasks, update their progress, and share files within the platform.

Perhaps the micromanagerish vibe Envisio gives off is a failure in marketing as there are clearly viable uses for the software. However, the implementation of tools like this come down to the people who are using them and the only people who would be attracted to the tool as its described in their marketing material are, you guessed it, micromanagers.

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