Information is one of the most valuable aspects of your business. Employees use information daily to advance your business objectives. This has given rise to the digital workplace, a hub where employees can connect with information and use that info to meet business objectives.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many businesses’ digital transformation efforts, the concept itself isn’t new. As early as 1979, the IT industry promoted itself by promising “Information at Your Fingertips” (IAYF). While the concept has evolved over time, the key objectives are the same: finding the right information that allows businesses to innovate, keeping employees engaged and collaborative and optimizing business processes and operations.

Despite this need, challenges still exist in the form of siloed legacy systems, unstructured data and competing business priorities. Together, these challenges lead to bad employee experiences. Businesses need a knowledge management strategy to ensure employees can find the right information at the right time. So, how do they go about doing that? It starts by building the right employee experiences.

The Trouble With Too Many Legacy Systems

Chances are your business uses plenty of legacy systems. The last several years have seen many mergers and acquisitions as companies solidify their positions in their respective industries. But let’s face it: siloed legacy systems aren’t equipped to deal with modern needs.

As companies attempt digital transformation, they invariably have digital content in many different places. This makes life complex for employees, leading to bad experiences. Siloed data storage, confusion about where information is stored, the need to search through numerous disconnected systems and restrictive access rights all significantly affect employees’ ability to find information, according to recent research from APQC and Sinequa.

Why is this a problem? Several mission-critical outcomes are affected by a lack of findable information, including employee productivity and satisfaction, time to competency for new hires and product cycle time. In extreme cases, a company can have upward of 20 different search functions that employees must navigate to find the information they need, which hampers productivity. Having an enterprise search solution that can reduce the number of different systems employees must wade through when they need answers can increase productivity and employee satisfaction.

Data Needs Context

Another pitfall of legacy systems is the persistence of unstructured data — knowledge that resides primarily in unstructured content silos. Data needs context to be findable and useful. Employees not only need to find the data they're looking for, but they also need to know that what they’ve found is relevant.

Yet too often, that context is missing if the data sits in an unstructured silo. When relevant data is presented in context through enterprise search, it guides managers and leaders to more informed insights and decisions, producing better data-driven outcomes.

Learning Opportunities

Addressing Competing Business Needs

Employees suffer when business lines can’t or don’t work together. Narrow thinking leads to competing business needs and the acquisition of systems that don’t talk to each other, don’t work together and don’t make it easy to make knowledge findable.

Employees need tools that cut through silos and make it easier to find the right information at the right time. Separate systems might have their own search functions, but searching through multiple systems to find the right information only slows employees down. Enterprise search is a key component in an effective knowledge management strategy that makes finding information easy — even in the presence of differing business needs.


As companies push their digital transformation forward, they should include enterprise search in their strategies to counteract the barriers caused by legacy systems. Enterprise search can cut through data silos, provide rich context to data and increase employee proficiency and satisfaction. Enterprise search is another piece of the puzzle that brings the promise of both Information At Your Fingertips and a seamless digital workplace one step closer to reality.

Unless otherwise noted, all data taken from the report Knowledge Isn't Power When You Can't Find It, written by APQC and sponsored by Sinequa.

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