Taking the friction out of fitness
The holidays are over, which means it’s time to do a compulsory lifestyle check. Can my waistline afford that extra helping of pie? Have I lived up to last year’s New Year's resolutions? What about this year’s resolutions? There are no easy answers, but there are plenty of apps intended to address the question of what kind of shape we’re in, and what we ought to do about it.
Whether we use them or not, most of us are familiar to some extent with these phone, watch and Fitbit apps, which can track our movements throughout the day, and in theory help us live a healthier lifestyle. Whether it’s calculating the distance traveled on our weekend run or the amount of time that our heart rate reached a certain level, fitness apps have rapidly become popular tools for our workouts.
They’ve also enabled us to rethink the concept of working out. To be sure, fitness apps are designed to take some of the work out of working out, by allowing us to measure and analyze our workouts more easily. But because they’re always available, at play or at work, they can also measure activities we might not have thought of as exercise in the first place. That flexibility lets us recognize new occasions for working out at the most unexpected times and places. For instance, why take the elevator when you can climb the stairs, burn calories and improve your cardiovascular efficiency? Climbing 5 flights may not be the most efficient way to reach your office, but it can be an efficient way to get into shape while streamlining your schedule. Fitness apps dispel the perception that exercise is something done only in a gym in special clothing at a designated time without distractions, and instead encourage us to see new opportunities for getting in shape wherever we are, whatever the time.
There’s an echo in this of the ways that technology is helping businesses to think differently about the business of invoicing, to become more fit and efficient.
For instance, consider the increasingly obsolete idea that an invoice, like a gym, might only be accessible during specific work hours. As supply chains become increasingly global, the benefit of 24/7 online access to the status of an invoice by both Buyers and Suppliers is clear. Indeed, for a business that can’t wait to inquire about a late payment until the workday begins for a supply chain partner in another time zone, it’s critical to have after- or before-hours visibility into their invoice.
Perhaps more importantly, e-invoicing and fitness apps both enable and inspire an active, opportunistic, rather than passive, obligatory, outlook. Tungsten Analytics allows Buyers to see invoicing not merely as an endless exercise in stair climbing, but as an opportunity for mining insights about one’s procurement processes that can pay off in smarter decisions whose impact extends far beyond the AP department. Identifying these opportunities, and then maximizing the gains from them, can’t happen without access to previously inaccessible data, and technology that provides that access gives its users a clear advantage.
The boundaries of yesterday, both physical and conceptual, were an impediment to many aspirations, forming so many walls that kept us from moving ahead. With an assist from technology, we’re exceeding many of these barriers, whether that means expanding the playing field on which we work out, or bridging the time zones that separate workplaces in distant countries. Many times we’re not even aware of these limits—such as those imposed by office processes that hinder our outlook and growth—until after we’ve surpassed them, As we pass the finish line of one year and kick off the start of a new one, it’s worth considering what other frontiers we might cross in the coming months, and what we might discover in the process about where we’ve been and we’re going.