Enterprises Waste Time Searching for Documents
Earlier this week, we told you about a survey that said that companies are struggling to figure out how to access tacit knowledge -- that is the relevant knowledge and experience of their employees. Now another new survey from Recommind (news, site), a leader in search-powered information risk management (IRM) software, shows that employees are struggling to figure out how to access company data. It's not looking very good for employee productivity is it?

In the down economy, companies are cutting staff and working with a leaner workforce making searches more complicated. According to this recent research from Recommind, which asked knowledge workers from enterprises averaging 10,000+ employees to rate how prepared they felt their companies are to deal with various information-related threats, employees still spend an average of 38 minutes searching for a single document and cannot use technology to locate internal expertise.

Furthermore, in spite of a heightened risk of litigation and regulatory investigation, most enterprises aren’t more stringently enforcing, or even updating, data retention policies. Instead of being proactive in the face of a recession and investing in smart, simple solutions, companies are relying more and more on outdated technology and an inability to provide workers with the most current tools available.

Not Just an Inconvenience

It's not a mere inconvenience when employees can't effectively do their work, it also effects overall productivity, which can raise costs and waste time. As a result, it makes companies less likely to be as competitive in their industry.

Similarly, when enterprise data is left unmanaged it can severely damage an organization through litigation, regulatory sanction, internal theft or fraud. The recent financial crisis has exacerbated these challenges as enterprises seek to “do more with less” by foregoing critical information infrastructure investments at the exact time their shrunken employee base needs them most.

From the perspective of search and productivity, the survey found that:

  • Of the companies represented in the survey, only 42% have an enterprise search solution in place and 73% of companies have not invested in additional search or information-related technologies since the downturn began (generally believed to be December, 2007)
  • When looking for documents, 71% of employees trawl the corporate network / server, 60% send an email / IM requesting to have it sent and 35% simply call someone
  • Only 9% of the companies represented in the survey have an automated system in place for locating experts
  • To find experts, 71% “ask around,” 46% use the company directory, 34% use the company website / intranet and 30% actually send a company-wide email

From the perspective of data retention, eDiscovery and employee confidence, the survey found that:

  • 86% of employees expressed concern about how prepared their organizations are to deal with information risk
  • 86% of respondents say that data retention polices have not been updated or modified during the recession -- 87% say that polices are not being more strictly enforced
  • 29% of employees haven’t been briefed -- either by an IT manager or legal department representative -- about the role email plays in lawsuits and eDiscovery events
  • Only 19% feel their company’s data retention policies are “crucial to the business” -- 52% feel they are only “somewhat important” or “a complete waste of time”

What does this survey show us? Craig Carpenter, VP of Marketing, of Recommind says that it's a “giant wake-up call to enterprises about the need to act quickly and aggressively to minimize the threats of information risk." If something as simple as document retrieval is sucking up the time, energy and money of an organization, then implementing an effective solution can reap rewards dramatically.

As Carpenter says, "Becoming an information-centric enterprise doesn’t just help minimize information risk, it helps position the company for survival during the downturn and accelerated revenue and profitability growth thereafter. Enterprises do not have the luxury of time, they need to control their data before it starts controlling them.”