In companies, more and more employees are sitting at their computers and becoming so-called knowledge workers. These are employees who generate added value not through physical work, but through intellectual work. For these employees, it is elementary to be able to access the company’s know-how quickly and efficiently in order to generate corresponding added value.
Information management is about making information available to a company’s employees as efficiently as possible in order to increase the company’s overall efficiency.
Knowledge management as a problem
Why do companies struggle to provide information efficiently to employees?
This is due to a number of things, but it has to do in particular with the history and technological developments of the last few decades.
When companies first started digitizing, there were only a few file formats that were stored centrally on a server in the company. Over time, file formats have expanded and new software solutions for different use cases have been developed. Only in recent years have systems changed from on-premise to cloud solutions. Thus, the underlying logics of file storage also change over time and the way systems talk to each other in an automated way.
What are the challenges for good information management in the company?
1. Historical data & systems
One of the biggest challenges is the history of organizations, which makes it difficult to access information quickly and easily. Often, information is stored in different systems and formats, making it difficult to find and use quickly. This can lead to delays in projects and decision-making, and affect business efficiency and performance. This is also due to the change in how information has been stored over time (for example, tagged/without tags, …).
2. Data silos
Another factor that complicates information management is data silos that talk little to each other and are poorly searchable. These silos can lead to important information not being shared and employees having difficulty getting information from colleagues. This can lead to misunderstandings and ineffective work processes.
3. Employee turnover
Employee turnover can also lead to information management problems. When employees leave the company, important knowledge and information is lost with them. This can lead to new employees taking longer to learn the ropes and delaying important processes and decisions.
Due to home office and remote work, the way companies communicate is changing from synchronous to asynchronous. This leads to new challenges in information management, because it is no longer possible to “just ask” a colleague for relevant information. In addition, it is extremely disruptive for employees when they are engaged in a task and then pulled out of it.
5. Increasing data volumes
For years, data volumes have been increasing incessantly. In most companies, the data has been unmanageable for an employee for years. The problem: Many older systems and servers cannot scale accordingly and lose massive performance over time.
What can an efficient information management solution look like?
An enterprise search solution is considered as an example of an information management solution. In general, there are various approaches to solving these challenges, which can generally be located in the area of enterprise content management.
Enterprise search is a concept in information management that enables organizations to quickly and easily access information stored in various systems and applications from one location in the IT landscape. The enterprise search system searches all available data sources to deliver relevant results that match user queries. In doing so, modern search systems use deep-learning algorithms and are thus able to interpret employee search queries. The system can, of course, in turn be integrated with various systems to be accessible from as many locations as possible.
In order to integrate enterprise search into an existing IT landscape, all data sources that are to be searched must first be identified and collected. These data sources can be databases, file stores, document management systems and other applications.
Once set up, employees can use the enterprise search system to search for information by entering specific keywords, phrases or questions. The system then searches all available data sources and returns relevant results that match the queries.
Benefits of better information management in the company?
However, better information management can bring a number of benefits. In particular, the bottom line should of course be increased profitability for the company.
1. Employee Experience
First, it can significantly improve the employee experience on a day-to-day basis, as employees waste less time searching for information and can find it faster and easier. This also leads to fewer frustrated employees, as they are less likely to be asked for information by colleagues and can focus on the work that really adds value.
2. More efficient work processes
More efficient work processes are also an important benefit of better information management. With a centralized location for information and better searchability, employees can access the information they need faster and speed up their work processes. This helps the company operate more efficiently overall and projects are completed faster.
3. Better decisions
Better decisions based on better decision-making are another benefit of better information management. With access to all relevant information and data, employees can make better decisions and be confident that they are addressing all factors. This leads to better quality decisions and can strengthen the company overall.
4. Employee satisfaction with IT systems
Especially in an employee market, it is important to keep employee satisfaction in mind. If employees can easily access the information they need and don’t have to deal with ineffective or poorly searchable systems, they will be happier. This will reduce turnover in the company. A modern and user-friendly IT stack counts as a decision criterion for a new job these days, especially for tech-savvy people.
5. Further development of the workplace towards new work
Better information management helps to develop the company in the direction of New Work. New Work refers to the use of new technologies and working methods (agile, more independent working, remote) to improve collaboration and employee performance. With better information management and the use of modern tools and technologies, the company can take advantage of New Work to improve its performance.
Conclusion on knowledge management
Overall, information management is becoming more and more important in the company as there are a lot of challenges and changes that force the company and employees to access and use information quickly and effectively. This increases employee satisfaction on the one hand, but also the efficiency of the company on the other. As companies will use more and more software solutions in the future, information management will become more and more relevant.