Electronic information, in whatever format it may be stored, is now an integral part of every business and institution. This being the case, every organization must now be fully adept in the management and use of this information, or risk a great deal more than poor business performance.
Forward-looking organizations have been investing heavily in business intelligence (BI) and enterprise content management (ECM) solutions for many years in order to get a ‘handle’ on this business imperative, but only now are we starting to see the worlds of structured and unstructured information entering into the same orbit as they are drawn inexorably closer by the immense gravitational influence of enterprise search technology.
The information we require for business operations and executive decision-making, both structured and unstructured, is scattered across the enterprise, stored within the repositories of business partners and customers, and published for all to see (somewhere) on the internet. However, despite the ubiquity of modern information processing tools, the average information worker still finds it difficult to access, aggregate, and consolidate all of the information that he or she requires to make a business decision or resolve a customer enquiry.
We are all, it would seem, suffering from information overload – brought on by the countless numbers of emails, RSS feeds and podcasts – and information underload, as evidenced by the need for ever more sophisticated search tools and reporting engines – at one and the same time – something that could be called the information management paradox. This phenomenon typically manifests itself as a kind of ‘decision paralysis’, where employees find themselves in a helpless state of non-productivity that eventually results in an inability to act – not a good position to be in when today’s business climate calls for swift and decisive action.
The world of work is changing, and the pace of change is increasing year on year. ‘Information work’ is no longer the sole domain of the traditional white collar worker; indeed, more than half of the organization’s employee costs are now being consumed by information work. This being the case, the effectiveness of one company’s information management strategy over that of another is now likely to be a key differentiator in the market, and so ‘getting IT right’ is starting to dominate discussion at board level.
Organizations consist of people, and these people possess the real business ‘know-how.’ Exploiting this know-how requires information management systems that are fit for purpose and well suited to the role of the user, but the all-too-familiar signs of the information management paradox tell us that something is not quite right somewhere.
The information management paradox is not something that is going to be solved overnight, and so one might be better served by stepping away from the problem for a moment and observing how others are addressing similar issues. They say that a problem shared is a problem halved, and this is one problem that definitely needs halving.
Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)