For many enterprises, information is gridlocked, misplaced and unavailable to drive business decisions in real time. That's the distressing take-away from newly released research carried out by IDC for Ricoh.

While many others in the enterprise content management and information management space, including AIIM, have reached similar conclusions, there are some differences here. But the Ricoh Addressing Information Gridlock report also identifies exactly where the bottlenecks are happening, how much money this could be costing and who may be creating the problems.

A longtime player in the hardware market, Ricoh more recently has entered the business services space.

Joyce Ouellette, Director of Brand Strategy Integration at Ricoh, said Ricoh has gone through a lot of self-analysis over the past three years to identify the value its products and technologies were bringing to its customers, as well as identify what its customers want.

Better Business Outcomes

The report defines information mobility as the ability to seamlessly move information between paper, digital and legacy systems, and to also find and integrate information within and across repositories whether on premise or cloud.

The objective: "To drive better business outcomes," Ouellette said.

The research turned up what has to be one of the best rogue’s gallery’s ever of information management or mismanagement as the case may be. 

Some of the striking, but sadly repetitive findings of this report — and we say repetitive because no matter what enterprises say, it really looks like little changes from one report to another and one year to the next — should really be blazoned on a Wall of Shame in every company that is still wrestling with even basic paper processes. 

Among the findings:

  • Few companies are information mobility ready
  • Many business workflows are not electronic and not optimized across departments
  • Organizations are still too dependent on paper
  • Employees lack adequate tools to search across data repositories
  • Almost 40 percent of enterprise information is captured in filing cabinets or in employees’ heads
  • There are too few collaboration tools
  • Support for key cloud and mobile platforms is a blind spot for senior management

IDC conducted a global survey of 292 director-level and above executives from IT and lines of business in US companies with 500 or more employees. This was backed-up by 12 in-depth interviews with line of business IT executives

From this, IDC identified four levels of information mobility maturity and rated companies as Champions, Contenders, Beginners and Candidates. Only 17 percent of companies fell into the most mature Champion category, meaning 83 percent of companies are missing out on major business upside.

The study also showed that the higher you go on the mobility scale, the better your business outcomes will be. Champions enjoy not only cost reduction benefits, the report reads, but also improvements in revenue, new customer acquisition and retention, profitability, and even time to market for new products and services.

2 Information Mobility Drivers

The two key findings: organizations need to look at their data resources holistically and senior management have to buy in to data management strategies for it to succeed. 

“The issue around manual processes is huge, and the issues around information silos are huge. If you think about customer facing employees, having customer information trapped in repositories and preventing them from getting a holistic view of the customer is a real hindrance,” she said.

“You have one piece of digital information, one piece of information on paper, one piece of information in this repository and another in that repository. You have to bring it together for employees so they can do useful things with it. That’s the critical challenge.”

Where’s The Money

Companies that embrace information mobility saw an average annual revenue increase of $7,210 per employee, a cost reduction of $16,027 per head, higher customer count and lower churn. 

Companies with the highest information mobility maturity reaped annual benefits in excess of $40,000 per employee, with the average being $24,000.

The report concludes that the greatest benefits of information mobility are being achieved by only the 17 percent of companies in the most mature category. The remaining 83 percent risk falling further as mobility, cloud, big data, analytics and social enterprise networks become increasingly important for enterprises.