The majority of employees say productivity suffers because of poor information management. This should come as no surprise considering the amount of data being generated by companies, employees and consumers in today’s digital ecosystem.

According to the 2019 Global Intelligent Information Management Benchmark Report from M-Files, 82% of the 1,500 surveyed said small and large organizations alike will suffer from less than optimal productivity if they don’t address information management issues.

Poor Information Management Persists

This is not new, in fact it has been cited as a major enterprise impediment since at least 2012, when the independent research organization IDC outlined the negative impact of poor information management on productivity.

But the problem is more than a few badly labelled documents. Gartner Managing VP Hanns Köhler-Krüner, spoke at the Intelligent Information Management Summit 2018 in September and his message centered around information chaos and the problems that chaos causes within organizations. Every organization, he said at the summit, is burdened with information management problems which causes extra work and a considerable reduction in labor productivity. And his conclusions?

Employees need to master information management in a wide variety of esoteric systems and data warehouses. There are three problems here:

  • Often, no one knows exactly what’s in these systems.
  • Finding information takes time, resulting in decreased productivity.
  • The use of multiple systems involves data protection risks.

Related Article: Intelligent Information Management: What’s in a Name?

Digital Transformation Aggravates the Problem

David Jones, VP of product marketing at Nuxeo and a member of the board of directors for AIIM, points out that while the problem persists and enterprises have been grappling with it for years, digital transformation has changed the scale and nature of the information management challenge.

There is more data and content residing within more places and systems, and more types of content (video, audio — and bigger files) that must be managed than ever before. Call this information overload, big content, digital landfill or whatever you like — the challenges are real and will only increase if organizations continue to rely on outdated legacy applications that were designed for an era of the past. Even still, these platforms and solutions are unlikely to disappear. “We are unlikely to see these solutions disappear from the workplace anytime soon. Nor should they. It’s a mistake for businesses to think one monolithic system to replace all the various solutions will solve these challenges. If “rip and replace” were that easy, everyone would be doing it. But that “big bang” approach is rarely successful,” he said.

The more logical thing for businesses to do instead, he added, is “modernize” these systems via content services platforms (CSPs). CSPs don’t require massive data migrations, and are capable of interfacing and integrating with existing applications and repositories. This enables users to find and retrieve information they need — in any format — without disturbing existing systems and processes. “In other words, keep your legacy systems and leverage them — until you’re ready to sunset them at your own pace,” he said.

Information management affects businesses on so many levels, from employee satisfaction and retention, profit margins and of course productivity. All organizations are structured by information and knowledge, and employees being able to utilize this is what drives the business forward.

The Impact of Poor Information Management

Poor information management has many indirect effects within a company and could be affecting other parts of your business negatively without you even realizing it, said Grant van der Harst, managing director of Anglo Liners.

When it is difficult for an employee to access information quickly, their time is wasted unnecessarily, serving the customer takes longer and that ultimately leads to bad online reviews. After time this becomes stressful for employees and employee retention suffers. “Many employees are aware of how inefficient information management is within their company and may even have great solutions, but for whatever reason this isn’t communicated to management, or it’s ignored,” he said.

As a final thought he pointed out that organizations need to address the resistance to change and critically analyze how the business functions. “While this may take up time and resources in the short term, it can only have positive outcomes for the future. As technology advances and competition becomes even fiercer, nonproductive organizations with ineffective information management will fall behind the rest,” he said.

Learning Opportunities

In response, there have been significant advancements in machine learning technologies, commonly referred to as robotic process automation (RPA), which is designed to drive out costs of labor-intensive and error-prone business processes.

Yet only 20% of organizations surveyed employ effective metadata and classification of their data. With the proliferation of incoming information from multiple channels, it is imperative for organizations to invest in capabilities to capture information at the source, digitize it as soon as it enters the organization and transform that information into actionable business processes.

Document understanding of incoming information based on content and metadata is key to automating the document capture and classification process. Thus, organizations can reduce error-prone and labor-intensive tasks associated with the capture, extraction and classification of large volumes of information and accelerate the process of compliance with data classification, retention and compliance policies and regulations.

Related Article:  3 Tips to Set Your RPA Project Up for Success 

Information Management With Digital Transformation

Clarifying and developing an information management strategy is more than just wordplay and defining terms. As the currency that fuels and funds digital transformation, information is an enterprise’s most important asset, according to an eBook just published by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM).

Kevin Craine is a technology analyst, and has been named the top enterprise content management influencer to follow on Twitter. Writing about the new eBook, The State of the Industry — Content Services, he said that “Every organization is on — or should be on — a digital transformation journey.” But, he points out, there is nothing new here. “I would bet that this isn’t the first time you’ve heard that statement. At AIIM, we really believe in that statement, so we’ve been practically screaming it from the mountain top,” he wrote.

At the heart of this transformation journey is the drive toward understanding, anticipating and redefining internal and external customer experiences. This primary driver depends on other key transformative aspirations such as:

  1. Business agility/innovation.
  2. Operational excellence.
  3. Automated compliance/governance.

The research also shows that 79% of organizations realize they must transform into a true digital business in order to survive. It is, in fact, a perfect digital storm. If information management is driving digital transformation and digital transformation requires better information management, then before enterprises implement a digital transformation strategy, they need to get their information management strategy in place too. Without it, they face failure.