Recently while watching an old movie, I was reminded just how far we’ve come with cellphone technology. In one scene the actor shouted, “Quick, find a phone!” It made me laugh because he meant a pay phone. You don’t see many of those around these days. Even cell phones are constantly improving to the point where we really aren’t truly cognizant of their effect on our lifestyles. Changes in technology often have far-reaching effects on our behavior, and while it may take some time to get used to our new technology and make changes, we always do. The desire to make the change usually overrides the time it takes to get used to the adjustment, so we don’t consciously notice its effects.
Overcoming hesitation with benefits and details
Yet, when we talk to businesses about intelligent information management (IIM), there’s often some skepticism, reluctance to make the change, fear of how the change will affect the work environment and the requirement to justify the adoption of IIM. The challenge for technologists is to alleviate the businesses’ uncertainty and to help them understand the benefits of making the change.
In a recent benchmarking study, customers surveyed were able to identify their top challenges and the key benefits that they believe IIM has brought to their organization. They also identify the current state of their operating environment, which shows that many survey respondents have a long way to go before they can achieve their digital transformation.
Business and implementation challenges
- Enabling wide access (41 percent)
- Providing good search capabilities (34 percent)
- Needing cost justification (14 percent)
- Lacking expertise (10 percent)
- Needing trust advisor(11 percent)
Environment: current state
- Provide their users with poor or no availability to search (44 percent)
- Have document management (DM) or IIM (53 percent)
- Have imaging systems that feed their business processes (31 percent)
- Of those without DM or IIM admit they have “somewhat chaotic” file/cloud shares (14 percent)
- Rely on email attachments/personal hard drive to share documents (43 percent)
- Do not provide mobile access to documents (57 percent)
“Improved agility and flexibility, greater knowledge sharing within and between teams, and improved customer service are the biggest benefits resulting from document and process initiatives. Faster end-to-end response and increased visibility come ahead of reduced costs and improved compliance.”
— Survey Findings of IIM Benefits from Improving and Automating Business Operations through Information Management, a Benchmarking Survey, conducted by Konica Minolta and Comspec Consulting
Leadership through training and education
I consider these three statistics from the study to be the most telling:
1) Barely half of the respondents, 53 percent, have some form of IIM. So, the other 47 percent are still struggling with even the basics of content management – capture, access, store. What makes this an important finding is that we can see these companies are hampering their organizations’ efficiency and, likely, dealing with employees frustrated with antiquated or disparate systems that simply make their jobs more difficult than they need to be.
Witness the related statistic: 14 percent of those without a DM or IIM system admit that they have “somewhat chaotic” file or cloud shares, and 43 percent rely on email attachments and personal hard drives to share documents. Again, without a core system that enables employees at the very least to be able to easily share and store their documents, companies are back in the days of pay phones – dial pay phones.
2) Part of the reluctance to consider a change and move forward into a digital environment is lack of expertise (10 percent) and needing someone to show them the way (11 percent). Awareness and education are critical for businesses to adopt IIM. They need to know about the technology and what it can do for them. But, how do they get there? What is right for their work environment? And, how much of what do they need? The IIM assessment is the best place to start so both business and advisor can see the current state of the operation – but even before that, the business needs that knowledgeable resource.
In the study, they noted supplier types were morphing from large general IT suppliers and existing ERP companies toward IIM/BPM (Business Process Management) vendors, systems integrators, managed services and resellers of dedicated IIM/BPM products.
Thus, IT managers face the challenge of identifying the needs in their organization – and finding the resource that can lay out the options and show how the solutions work – as the business units clamor for improvements to their business processes.
3) Do not provide mobile access to documents: 57 percent. From my earlier pay phone example, we know the way of the world has changed and the way that we work is changing. With most employees carrying around a cellphone, they already possess the technology; the business just needs to enable it.
What does all this mean?
“One-third of document and processing initiatives repay the investment in 12 months or less, and two-thirds within two years.”
— Improving and Automating Business Operations through Information Management, a Benchmarking Survey
Those involved in the decision-making behind company technology must realize it is time to reinvent their operations to implement IIM systems that fit their needs. Additionally, these operations will improve their efficiency, enabling employees to enjoy all the residual, intangible benefits that digital transformation provides. This is best done with the help of a trusted advisor who can navigate through the IIM offerings available today and to help the team understand the new SAAS innovations that continue to enter the marketplace.
Joanne Novak is a program manager at Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. and is responsible for program development with the company’s Business Intelligence groups, including the Intelligent Information Management (IIM) practice. Her responsibilities are to build sales and customer-facing educational and thought leadership insights as well as strategic initiatives for IIM.