Do Customers Want Information Chaos or Information Opportunity?

2019 could be a year of amazing sector opportunity if we can convince customers about what they can achieve from re-organising their approach to enterprise data, says EASY SOFTWARE UK’s Andy Boulton

My attention over the holidays was sparked by some really stimulating recent research from AIIM that I finally had time to catch up with between the mince pies and the Auld Lang Syne singing (see here, here and here).

The theme of the AIIM research, led by its past leader John Mancini, is that despite us all agreeing information is a hugely important business asset, we are remarkably poor at exploiting it. As AIIM says, “Information is everywhere and it is poorly (if at all) managed. Amidst all of this opportunity, organisations are drowning in a sea of content and information.”

This of course isn’t really news to anyone who’s tried to help a company re-organise itself and get a better grip on its data. But what’s interesting about the AIIM perspective is that it offers some practical suggestions about how to address the ‘Information Chaos’ issue:

Change The Parameters
A lot of effort goes into improving enterprise search – to give information managers a better tool, so that needles in haystacks can be found. But what if we broke out of this box and instead of trying to ‘find’ information, we looked to ‘use’ it instead – in order to completely change how we approach enterprise search?

Make Sure You Have a Policy
AIIM says that if you do not have an up-to-date Information Governance Policy that is supported across the enterprise, ensure you write one, but get representation (read, senior buy-in) from all areas of the business.

Point Out How Storing Rubbish Actually Costs £
Clear the clutter because not enough users understand that having cloud storage does not mean storage is unlimited and free. Use tech (e.g. automated agents) to de-duplicate content and reallocate metadata. Get serious about only ever storing data as long as you legally need to – as that means what’s left really matters.

One Last Push on Paper
It’s still being used and perhaps you’ll never get rid of it all. But at least try – using sector benchmarks to see what the industry standard is in your customer’s industry on paper use – and get agreement to set an upper limit on its use in your business processes.

How Much is Socially ‘Beneficial’?
A major source of bloat is storing social media content. Should we? What does really matter to the business and what gives us an edge? Collaborate with the Records Management team to work that out, then create automated ways to pipe that content into the right form of enterprise memory.

What Does Success Look Like?
Dialogue with the customer to see what piece of information, business intelligence, customer understanding or incident prediction is actually transformative. What would it look like? Where would it live? How far are we from being able to make use of it? What external resource or competence do we need to access to it and analyse it? If we don’t have it, who does and how much do we need to pay for it?

These are just a few of the suggestions from the AIIM research that present highly valuable starting points for some 2019 projects. That’s what we want to encourage our customers to do using our sector’s tools: to recognise value-add business activity and opportunity.

A good business case is provided by John in his ‘Overcoming Information Chaos’ White Paper: “By combining content and processes in new and unexpected ways, organisations can dramatically mitigate risk; reduce process costs; better engage with customers, employees, and partners; and transform information into insight.”

That’s a New Year’s Resolution I can certainly commit to. How about you?

Andy

Andy Boulton is CEO of EASY SOFTWARE UK, which develops and delivers multi-platform, Document Management, Electronic Archiving and Content Management Solutions: underpinning the businesses of 12,800 global customers, EASY SOFTWARE UK makes Document Management EASY

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