Home Depot launches in-house app to prioritize employee tasks

Dive Brief:

  • Home Depot rolled out a new mobile application aimed at improving the employee experience and increasing productivity, the company said Thursday. The app, called Sidekick, uses machine learning to help associates prioritize tasks throughout the day.
  • Sidekick uses a cloud-based machine learning algorithm to determine the most time-sensitive tasks. Through computer vision, it detects and alerts employees of out-of-stock items on shelves.
  • The app is live at 600 stores and will roll out to all U.S. stores in the coming weeks, the company said in an email.

Dive Insight:

Technology that supports frontline workers has long been a target of enterprise IT, driven by promises of increased productivity. 

In retail, other large players, such as Walmart, have built mobile apps for their workers. Last year the retailer launched the [email protected] app, which lets workers clock in through a mobile device, view upcoming shifts and request schedule changes. 

Enterprise technology projects can compound, leveraging one improvement toward the next.

In June, Home Depot began issuing its associates hdPhone mobile devices, developed in collaboration with Zebra Technologies, HPE and Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company. The company said it has issued more than 99,000 hdPhones.

“The app is hosted on our newly launched hdPhones, with an intuitive user experience built for a Day 1 Associate, following our design tenant of no user training required,” said Muzammil Akram, VP Technology, Store Systems at Home Depot, in an email. “The app also has a feedback button and clickstream analytics to understand usage and to continually improve user experience.”

Industry watchers delivered a clear edict at the end of last year: IT spending will continue to grow despite economic worries — but leaders will be tasked with showing how new projects will help a company become more efficient.

Home Depot tailored the Sidekick app to business needs by working with in-house software engineers, designers and product managers, Akram said.

“Building this application internally allowed us to engage our end users throughout the development with faster feedback loops and to seamlessly integrate with our enterprise tech stack,” he said. 

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