Today we have multiple communication channels at work. Emails, Meetings, Chats, Conference Calls etc. Content is generated and distributed in all these channels. Messages and documents fly around through these distribution channels with little regard to whether they are relevant to the person consuming it. Reply-To-All and Forward has become a way of working. This has resulted in an explosion of content in workplace.
Analysts say that enterprises are creating new information faster than ever—IDC predicts a 30-fold increase in the amount of digital information available by 2020, and a 60-fold increase in the number of accessible files. One key reason is that it has become relatively cheap to store vast amounts of information. The scenario has become complex not only because of the staggering volume of the information. It is also due the various disparate systems where the information is stored. In enterprises, information isn’t just saved in the cloud storage, but across shared drives, intranets, content management systems, file systems, cloud apps, e-mail servers, and other communication tools like Lync, Yammer or Slack.
Information is useless if it cannot be found when needed
Remember the last time you needed to draft a proposal for a prospective customer pulling in and consolidating data from earlier similar proposals? Was this an easy task, which only required you to type in several keywords into the system, or was this rather a frustrating experience which meant multiple searches in different repositories and folders, or even ended in attempts to reach out to people who had access to the knowledge you were looking for? End result was probably duplication of efforts and recreation of content.
As the amount of information increases, so does the challenge of finding specific information. Studies indicate that while it is easy to create massive amounts of content, the true test lies in the value associated with that content. Value, not only in the sense of business value, but also the overall value gained through findability and re-usability. When asked about the issues related to poor content, 87% of respondents in a study cited duplicative efforts as their main issues, with 85% saying they spent extensive amounts of time trying to find their content. Single use content remained an issue for 79% of respondents in that it is not reused beyond its original intent.
We are faced with an ironical situation. More and more information is easily accessible and yet we are unable to find the exact information when we need it.
Business decisions are information problems
Business decisions are more likely information problems. Timely access to critical information improves decision making and saves time. While the costs of not finding information are enormous, they are hidden within the enterprise, and therefore they are rarely perceived as having an impact on the bottom line. All too often employees are unaware of the information sources within an enterprise or do not have access to it. Consequently, enterprises are unable to capitalize on their knowledge assets and generate Return on Knowledge (ROK). There are many reasons for this – some technical, some cultural, and some personal. No matter the cause, the amount of time wasted in futile searching for vital information is enormous, leading to staggering costs to the enterprise.
Enterprises need to invest aggressively in systems that allow decision making information to be easily accessible to their employees.