Guest Opinion: As organisations continue to work digitally, data (both structured and unstructured) continues to explode. On the one hand, this is delivering huge benefits to organisations, empowering decision-makers to move faster and make more accurate decisions. On the other hand, document issues account for more than 20 per cent of daily productivity loss. (1) The lesson is that more efficient document management can deliver significant productivity gains to organisations.
However, there are barriers to efficient document management, which means that existing content management solutions may no longer be up to the task. For example, now that people are working on different platforms and from remote locations, data sources are widely dispersed. Rather than being contained in neat databases and file shares, information is buried in siloed applications like email, chat logs, network drives, or customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.
Employees can also struggle to accurately organise and classify data in a traditional hierarchy of folders and subfolders. This means documents are often saved in the wrong location, or different versions are saved in different places, and workers can’t find what they need when they need it. In fact, 83 per cent of productivity losses due to manual document management are because employees are recreating documents that they can’t find in the company network. (2)
These information management challenges are leading to the emergence of six key trends that will define 2021:
1. Federated search will become table stakes
Research suggests that more than 60 per cent of information workers need to access at least four systems to do their jobs. (3) Finding information across these systems with individual search functionality takes time and the results can be inconsistent. Federated search lets employees find documents no matter which systems they reside in with a single search query, saving a significant amount of time and effort, and ensuring no relevant documents are missed.
2. Artificial intelligence will help classify data
Artificial intelligence (AI) solutions can help comb through large amounts of data and pull out metadata (information about the data) to help classify it. This makes it easier to search for data based on key parameters and dramatically reduces the risk of documents becoming lost because they were misfiled. The AI solution can ensure those documents are always findable.
3. Information will become well and truly available anywhere, anytime
When the world transitioned to remote working in the face of COVID-19, the need to be able to access company data from anywhere at any time became hard to ignore. With an information platform at the centre of a business, workers were able to access what they need, when they needed it, with an experience comparable to that of office-based workers. Now, employees expect this same functionality from wherever they are.
4. Collaboration will continue to be indispensable
Information management is no longer simply about enabling collaboration but optimising it. This necessitates technologies that manage document sharing, co-authoring, editing, and more, in a remote environment.
5. Information siloes will no longer be acceptable
Switching between multiple screens and applications wastes valuable time. Workers need a simple, unified user experience that lets them access all the information they need simply, without requiring them to enter a different user interface for every different system the company uses.
6. Users will demand a sleek interface
The user experience is a crucial element in how productive workers can be. A sleek, intuitive user experience that removes friction means employees can get more done in their day without being hindered by clunky interfaces.
Organisations that recognise and embrace these six trends will be well-placed to turn their mountains of data into a true asset for the organisation while improving the employee experience, raising productivity, and powering business growth.
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