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article imageQ&A: Why poor information management hits workplace productivity Special

By Tim Sandle     Feb 17, 2019 in Business
The 2019 Global Intelligent Information Management Benchmark Report, from M-Files, finds companies are failing at digital transformation because they are getting the first step wrong – implementing the right technology.
The report, which surveyed 1,500 office workers across multiple global regions, revealed that 82 percent of employees report poor information management is damaging productivity in the workplace.
These findings indicate that many businesses manually store information utilizing outdated hierarchical folder structures across a variety of disparate and often unintegrated systems.
According to Greg Milliken at M-Files digital transformation requires a fundamental change in the way organizations do business, and this data is a proof point that companies are failing at digital transformation because of the way they are managing documents. He explains more to Digital Journal.
Digital Journal: How important is digital transformation for businesses?
Greg Milliken: Digital transformation is critical to enhancing communication, collaboration and knowledge-sharing across disparate teams. As organizations set out to digitize processes that drive efficiency and improve performance, customer experience and revenue growth, information management should be the cornerstone of their digital transformation strategy.
Information is an asset that should be viewed as digital currency. An organization’s future depends on its ability to leverage information to gain a competitive edge in its industry. Once information is digitized it becomes the new intelligence of the organization, and intelligent information management will play a key role in digital transformation strategies to help convert data into information and information into dollars.
DJ: What are the main information management challenges faced by office workers?
Milliken: As the amount of data enterprises deal with daily continues to explode, so does the number of different repositories — such as network folders, SharePoint, CRM and ERP systems —creating data silos across an organization. The more disparate silos an organization has, the more vulnerabilities are likely to exist across the organization.
M-Files recently announced its 2019 Global Intelligent Information Management Benchmark Report, which revealed that poor information handling cuts job output. In fact, 82 percent of respondents stated that navigating different systems and locations to find the correct version of a file they are looking for negatively affects their productivity.
In addition, 91 percent of respondents reported that their job would be easier if they could quickly and easily access the most current version of a document, without having to worry about the system or repository in which it resides. These findings show the need for change in information management practices across all organizations – both large and small – wherever they are in their transition to a digital workplace.
DJ: What are the weaknesses in terms of standard business document hierarchies?
Milliken: It’s difficult to manage the abundance of data in disconnected systems, and an inordinate amount of time and effort is spent locating the right document, decreasing efficiency and productivity.
The weaknesses of standard business document hierarchies are revealed in the 2019 Global IIM Benchmark Report. Forty-one percent of those surveyed reported that information was frequently stored in the incorrect folder or system – with 29 percent asserting that information was misplaced or lost. Shockingly, 83 percent of respondents claim they are forced to recreate lost documents already in existence.
These findings indicate that many businesses manually store information utilizing outdated hierarchical folder structures across a variety of disparate and often unintegrated systems. In the past, information management was much more about storing and archiving information. As technology evolved, this changed. Today information management thrives on using, analyzing and leveraging interrelated information in the right context.
DJ: What challenges do office workers face?
Milliken: Document and information-handling practices are presenting challenges in the workplace, and the 2019 Global IIM Benchmark Report reinforces the persistent frustrations felt by employees toward information handling. Organizations must seek better, more intuitive ways to manage documents. Failure to address this could have severe consequences for an organization – from hampered productivity and staff retention, to an organization’s inability to demonstrate compliance in accordance with regulations, such as GDPR, when handling and protecting information.
Modern intelligent information management systems allow users to search for information using context established by the type of document, such as a contract or proposal, and its relationships to customers, projects, cases or literally any other organizational element important to the business. This removes much of the complexity for staff, enabling them to intelligently organize and easily retrieve the most relevant and current information without having to worry about where it's stored.
DJ: Are these weaknesses due to software design flaws?
Milliken: Some weaknesses in document management are related to software design flaws, such as not having access permissions in place. In today’s regulatory environment, software that provides built-in access permissions is necessary to remain compliant. Other software shortcomings include the inability to integrate with other solutions, which result in silos and disjointed information.
As a result, new systems are stacked on top of existing systems, creating more data silos. When this happens, users seeking more modern ways to work with information often default to personal accounts on alternative, easy-to-adopt, cloud-based systems, such as Dropbox or Box, adding even more new data silos.
DJ: Are systems that don’t integrate well also an issue?
Milliken: Systems that don’t integrate well create multiple data silos that hinder central control and security policies, leaving organizations exposed to substantial risks. Businesses need a solution that will unify the user experience across all repositories and help users find the right data, at the right time and in the right context. As organizations seek a way to unlock the value of data across an organization, while remaining compliant and meeting regulatory mandates, they must focus on eliminating data silos to have full access to data and interrelated information across the organization.
DJ: What can be done to improve document filing and archiving?
Milliken: Organizations need a more sophisticated, less invasive approach to document filing and archiving that can leverage existing repositories while providing modern, unified access and control to allow new use cases for new user groups.
By adopting an intelligent information management solution that interrelates all existing data and enriches it with metadata to build rich context, organizations will experience more efficient workflows as well as increased employee productivity. For example, when saving a new document to M-Files, users simply describe the file with a few metadata tags. M-Files then automatically indexes and organizes the document, ensuring that it shows up in all relevant views and search result listings, so the problem of one unique document existing in multiple locations is efficiently resolved.
More about Productivity, work rate, Management, information man, Documentation
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