Trending Topics for Your New Year Planning

While most January commentary revolves around trends for the future, I am going to look back to some of my blog topics to reinforce their relevance for the future.

The first blog to review is “Make Change Happen By Unlocking Your Data Gold Mine.” The crux of that blog was about how more data in the workplace means we need people schooled in analytics, data scientists, to help the business units utilize the data.  Our systems, such as those for content management, provide information that scientists can use to unlock important trends and patterns to help better steer the decision-making at a business. As David McCandless said in his TedGlobal talk “The Beauty of Data Visualization,” these purveyors of data are “data detectives” who work with data and shape it into patterns to see new things. In fact, the simple infographic is a visualization of “data compression,” which McCandless indicates is the squeezing of data into visualization for easy understanding.

“Good design,” he suggests, “is the best way to navigate information glut – and it may just change the way we see the world.”

We can see the world at large is ramping up for this role with universities like the University of San Francisco renaming their Analytics majors to Data Science, and others like the University of Minnesota offering Masters of Science for this field. Without the ability to make the data actionable, companies are not recognizing the benefits they can get with applying the learnings from the data. According to Venus Tamturk in “The ECM Market: What Happened in 2017 & What’s Next in 2018” these companies are “living in irony” with bundles of data and failing to leverage it.  So, what is your business going to do to be a smarter business?

The second blog topic revolves around creating value in your organization from “Creating Value – Day After Day After Day (or How ECM Could Have Saved Nicolas Cage).”  Here it is more a conversation on the user and company “end-value.” In the end, we want our employees and our customers to be engaged and happy. The pent-up frustration that the Nicolas Cage video clip demonstrated – the extreme frustration of an employee looking for a paper file — is the kind of outcome we are examining.

“There’s this contract we’ve been trying to locate … how could someone misfile something? What could be easier, it’s all alphabetical? — as spoken by Nicolas Cage’s character in Vampire’s Kiss

Here we are looking at making your business one of the best places to work – with an engaged staff and happy customers — because they have access to information.  They can get what they need and do what they were hired to do … not losing “brain time” on “search time.”  According to AIIM, 26 percent of users say that management of information is “somewhat chaotic.”  I’m sure you will agree, “chaotic” is not the description that your employees should be using to describe the state of your data.

While the first topic expressed having too much data and shortchanging your organization without the talent in place to give that data meaning and access, here we are talking about plain access – being able to find the information quickly and efficiently.

As I said in that blog, “Information is king if you have access when you need it.”  We are talking about the impact to your organization when you can’t get the data, lose it or realize you have to spend an unreasonable amount of time to find it.  According to Square 9 Softworks, a typical employee spends 30 to 40 percent of their time looking for information locked in email, documents, shared drives and filing cabinets.

Your team can’t collaborate easily, your reporting is not a simple task, and your customers’ expectations are not met as they expect you to have their information at your fingertips.  It’s the flip side of our big data issue – not enough data. notes, “Customers now believe they should have what they want the minute they request it.” And, all of us just want to hear from our customers when they need us to guide them toward something new and exciting.  Billing questions/corrections, issues with a product or solution etc. are still going to occur, but with information readily available to your service team (CSRs), that experience improves since now the CSR is smart. They can access customer history and account information and they can truly do their jobs – to assist the customer versus just wrangling with data access.

To attain this value, we reviewed the need to get your structured and unstructured data in line – through digitization, content management, systems that integrate with your business-specific programs, with the ability to do electronic searches and eliminating paper.  So, how did you do with this mission? Did you make a change or are you still waiting for digital transformation? What is your current relationship with paper?

Konica0118Paper locks up your data access because it is not searchable or found quickly. It drags down your business processes and fills up your physical office space in inert cabinets.  You reduce your business’s flexibility to operate, jeopardize the security of your data and impact your employee’s engagement level and your overall culture.  In “Understanding Your Journey to Digital Nirvana”  we took a high-level look at charting your journey on the easy road or the hard road, and the stage of transformation you may be in.

It is all about reducing paper and manual functions to let automation and searchable digital documents make your work environment be more efficient and more secure with you controlling access and mobile.  The codicil to these big three is utilizing the cloud to store your data for easy recovery from natural disasters and to support a workplace of the future – where “work is where you are.”

Once you have the data translation team, data access for employees and data digitization for saving space, security and content management plus the cloud utilization for quick disaster recovery and mobility  – you can continue down your own road to digital transformation and implement the automated workflows you need and delve into the analytics.

“Companies in early phases of digital transformation efforts tackle paper reduction and elimination of manual activities, while those in later stages focus on the extraction of data from digital documents to drive automation and enable analytics.”  — The Forrester Wave, Enterprise Content Management — Transactional Content Services Q2 2017 by Cheryl McKinnon

This brings us back to our data scientists – to help you make the analytical part of your transformational process complete.  The content management space will continue to evolve with smarter, faster tools – especially as AI technology finds its foothold and XaaS makes us all transform our information management into a hub of activity with services we access via the cloud.

Take some time to see how your business has evolved in 2017, and where you want it to go in 2018.  We can all be futurists if we embrace what technology can do to upgrade our mindset and make a plan for our transformation.  Make it a smart plan with the steps you can afford to take and that your staff can digest, but nonetheless – make the plan.  You’ll be happy that you did.

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.