With technology moving at a tremendous pace and showing no signs of slowing, and the level of disruption changing the direction of many businesses, where does that leave information management?
Over the past decade, the focus has been on Enterprise Content Management – the strategy of how to store and retrieve content in a way that is compliant with your regional laws and authority mandated policies, while still being usable by the business.
With the continued disruption of how a business ‘should’ work and the removal of old boundaries with the introduction of cloud computing, here at OfficeLabs we are experiencing a shift from the traditional boundaries and differences between the way content is managed and the way data is used. ‘Content’ can be classified as the work-in-progress files and records produced and referenced by the traditional knowledge worker, usually as part of a day-to-day business process. ‘Data’, on the other hand are the resulting analytics that provide measurements and statistics based on the output of the process.
These definitions are blurring, and this is due to three factors:
- One: the way people work with information. Data that powers statistics, results and reports are no longer static, they are real-time and available on demand. The time of day that we access information and the locations have changed dramatically. Flexible working attitudes are changing. Why do I need a fixed location to complete my tasks if the information and communication channels are available anywhere?
- Two: the way devices collect and process information. The explosion of The Internet of Things means that we have another dimension to how we perceive what is happening in our world. Machines are constantly informing us of what is happening at any time or location about their status and the process they take part in. This information allows us to either let the machines make decisions and complete a task or inform us when to act.
- Three: The cloud platforms that have emerged no longer segregate data from content. In the past few years content management platforms have come and gone. The behemoth platforms that provided records management and information compliance and which required a team of specialists to run are diminishing, being superseded by more flexible, multi-capable platforms that have adopted the app mentality. Businesses are looking for flexibility, such as multiple software applications that can be picked up or dropped as and when a business process requires it.
Even if, as a business, you have yet to look at cloud as an option, it is already affecting your business. Your website will have a greater ability to provide two-way communications to your partners and customers. Your procurement through suppliers will have changed as they adopt new ways of working. Your competitors will be looking at ways to disrupt their inflexible ways of working, for more efficient processes that bring better value and improve the lives of their staff. Change is happening all around and it’s time to have a long look at what new practices and technology can bring.
OfficeLabs has the experience to help you through this process of change
Our consultants have been part of organisational change for the majority of their careers. We work in the shifting sands of disruption, transformation and helping people change the way they work with data, content and technology.
Understanding what Intelligent Information Management is and how to work with it is a fundamental part of the transformation process.
Begin by changing your mindset. Yes, information is a liability and a costly nuisance if collected for the wrong reasons and stored incorrectly. The 2018 GDPR regulations highlight this, and the penalties for doing nothing are large in both reputational and monetary value.
Think of information as an asset and keep this attitude as a way to seek positive outcomes to the change process. Information is a utility, a source of corporate knowledge. It is an enabler, it improves the way your staff work, and allows them to problem solve and be more creative. It is also a driver: information will give you the answers to tough business questions and provide steer in uncertain times.
Information management strategy
There are other motivators for getting serious about information management:
- Operational excellence – being the best in your field or striving to be. Continual improvement is not possible without measurements and continual adjustment.
- Product leadership – continual development driven by the market, your customers, or the people you hope will be your next customers and your nearest competitors. The stories are many of long-established companies who have held the market high ground and have been usurped by the brash start-up using a mobile app and a bit of machine learning, giving them the edge on time to market.
- Customer involvement – think you know who your customers are? Do you know them well enough to offer the solution to their next problem? Get closer, be more involved, find ways to give them greater value. They bought your product – now what? What information do you have, and do you need to find that answer?
If you only have an Information management strategy to avoid the penalties of non-compliance, then it’s a start. Under GDPR, UK businesses are not allowed to store personal information indefinitely — only for a limited time for a justifiable use, and only then with the data owner’s permission. Can your current storage solution ensure that you are compliant?
Using Office 365
There are many levels of complexity in thinking about the content management and data usage challenges facing organisations, and as a result, many different types of information management solutions. It helps to go back to the business drivers: what are you trying to accomplish in business terms? Create a roadmap and map your goals against required capabilities. Everyone does not need everything, and while there are an increasing number of suppliers in the cloud technology marketplace, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. There’s every chance that you will need multiple platforms to meet your unique goals.
OfficeLabs has worked with Microsoft’s platform since its beginning and followed the journey as the capability and functionality grew. User empowerment is changing the way businesses work and by using Microsoft Office 365 and Azure as a central pillar for Intelligent Information Management provides a multifaceted platform for the merging of data and content into a usable, controllable and secure information stream.
Due to its vast functionality, many questions have been already answered, and solutions exist within Microsoft’s offering which meet a large proportion of organisation information needs. This makes the strategy simpler and focusses on what is individual and unique. Knowing this as a starting point determines how far you can go in a period of twelve months, for example. You will be surprised at the distance you can cover when the platform is so rich in capability.
What can OfficeLabs do for you?
As we’ve shown here – the path to Intelligent Information Management is not a straight road. There are some areas where all businesses will have to perform the same tasks but mostly this is personal to the individual drivers that a company will identify as being their reasons for getting control of their information.
We can help with identifying the drivers, the vision and building a strategy that works towards delivering and realising the benefits and outcomes. With a strategy in hand, a plan can develop. We work with you to create a realistic plan and put it into practice, seeing through the change and all the challenges that go with it from implementation to training.
Many business leaders are hearing the stories of how businesses are reaping the benefits of digital transformation and positive disruptors and have embarked on the journey, often without the raw materials and key skills needed to make change happen. OfficeLabs have the experience to support transformation and turn an initiative into a reality.
We can’t promise it will be easy – change never is. But we can promise the business will feel the benefits, and we’ll be there to support you at every step.
These are just some of the benefits that OfficeLabs Information management services can offer your company. When you book an appointment with an OfficeLabs consultant, they will talk to you in depth about your business needs, and how to best make use of our services. Remember, OfficeLabs offer more than information management, this is just one area of expertise — OfficeLabs will ensure you get the most out of any solution we provide. Making sure your business runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible is why OfficeLabs has been chosen by both FTSE 250 companies and huge public-sector bodies, and our no-jargon approach will let you talk to us with confidence about your requirements.
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