Live from AIIM 2015: It’s time to embrace the chaos
The scene at this week’s AIIM Conference was all about welcoming chaos – and that’s a good thing for curious information professionals being thrown for a wild ride. The sessions, roundtables, hallway conversations and even the theme of this year’s conference itself – Embrace the Chaos – reflect the changing and decidedly disruptive nature of the technology landscape.
What are some of the disruptions emerging from this week’s discussions?
- Cloud and mobile adoption are on a dramatic rise – shifting expectations about anytime, anywhere information access.
- Consumers are increasingly IT-savvy and demanding their own devices and applications for both personal and business use.
- Organizations are saying farewell to legacy systems, preparing for a huge overhaul of IT environments over the next few years.
- Business decision makers are becoming more and more involved in IT investment decisions – a trend expected to grow dramatically over the next five years.
So, in the face of these “disruptive” trends shaking up the world of information management, what should a smart and savvy information professional keep in mind to survive and thrive?
Atle Skjekkeland, chief evangelist at AIIM, addressed this challenge in his session: “The Future of Enterprise IT – 6 Ways Information Professionals Can Make an Impact.” Skjekkeland gave several suggestions on how to stay relevant, be an effective partner and maintain engagement with customers and employees alike:
1. Improve customer engagement
Successful organizations focus on their customers. Thinking about the ways that technology can be used to better serve your customers – whether patients, students, clients or constituents – is key.
Self-service access is one way to enhance your customers’ experiences. This includes both quick and easy access to information for your customers, as well as instant access to customer- and case-related information for your employees. This helps employees field questions and make decisions with the information they need, which helps maintain effective, relevant relationships.
2. Support mobile moments
With mobile adoption on the rise (the average user checks their smart phone every eight to 10 minutes, Skjekkeland shared), IT needs to support mobile moments, giving users access to information from anywhere, at any time.
This includes helping employees do their jobs better with critical access to information while on-the-go – whether that’s empowering a globe-trotting executive to approve an important contract from her iPhone or giving a traveling healthcare worker instant access to patient information on a tablet device, right at the patient’s bedside.
3. Improve employee engagement
One of my favorite sentiments from Skjekkeland’s session was that you can’t achieve sustainable customer engagement until you have good employee engagement. And engaged employees can also have a big impact on the bottom line. In fact, according to a Gallup poll, employee engagement affects customer service by 10 percent, productivity by 21 percent, and profitability by 22 percent.
So how can you better engage your employees? By supporting the ways they want to work – especially young professionals – from embracing social and collaboration tools, to providing access via mobile devices, to offering flexible work schedules. Give them tools that are user-friendly, interfaces that are intuitive, and workplace options that reflect their technology preferences.
4. Automate business processes
At a time when case management and smart process apps are in the spotlight, automating repetitive and paper-based processes is still a key foundational step. When you automate predictable processes and digitize inefficient paper, you can focus on empowering the knowledge worker to handle high-value work. And while many organizations have started down this path, it seems to still be an area of improvement, according to Skjekkeland.
In fact, of AIIM members surveyed, 46 percent said that the biggest single productivity improvement for most of their processes is to remove the paper.
5. Turn information into insights
Information is only as useful as what you do with it – and your ability to find it when and where you need it. AIIM members polled said professional staff in their organizations could be nearly 31 percent more productive if they could find their information and content as quickly and easily as they find information on the Web. The lesson here is that you should focus on improving searchability for business users and equipping them to leverage information about past process performance to drive future process improvements.
6. Secure corporate information
While we still hear about BYOD (bring your own device), a new acronym popped up during Skjekkeland’s session: BYOA (bring your own application). Just as users are demanding to work from personal mobile devices, they also have a desire to manage information with the sharing and content management tools they use in their non-work lives.
BYOA presents a whole new world of challenges for IT professionals, who need to determine how to control and protect formal content, while providing guidelines for storing and managing information. With business users becoming more involved in IT decisions, understanding these requirements and working with the business to find tools that meet their needs while maintaining security for the organization is essential.
So, how are you meeting today’s chaos? And are you prepared for tomorrow’s?