The cold, hard truth about information management – and other insights from AIIM16
As I stood on stage talking information management at last week’s AIIM16 conference in New Orleans, I felt for all the people in the audience whose organizations are tackling information management challenges.
In a world where information is exploding in volume and types, the task of managing that information is undeniably hard. The ability to get that information to your customers when, where and how they want it is even harder.
But guess what? Your customers don’t care.
Today’s consumers have come to expect things to happen in near real time – from the ability to rapidly process an insurance claim after a fender bender to the ability to bypass agonizing time spent on loads of redundant paperwork in a hospital waiting room. While many of these services require the same information and content that they needed a decade ago, the customer expectation for speed has grown dramatically.
And we as information management professionals need to adjust our strategies and solutions to fit this “need-it-now” landscape.
Speed and agility are key
The consumer-driven environment we live in today means we need to embrace speed and agility in both solution deployment and in meeting the information needs of our internal users and external customers.
When it comes to building solutions, months and even years spent on time-consuming, expensive custom development no longer fits the bill. Instead, solutions need to be designed and implemented quickly, through methods like point-and-click configuration and cloud-based offerings. We’re hearing more and more about low-code, rapid application development platforms that are equipping IT departments to be more responsive to changing business needs, and that won’t be going away.
Now more than ever, we must also keep the future in mind. Organizations can’t choose a solution today and expect that it will stay the same five years down the line. Instead, an agile tool will allow you – and your end users – to make changes to solutions on-the-fly, responding to shifting requirements and insights gleaned from more visibility into your key processes.
Speed and agility is a win-win for all your stakeholders. For your external customers, the ability for your knowledge workers to find the information they need, instantly and in context, drives better customer service and more personalized experiences.
From the four walls to no walls
Not so long ago, times were simpler. The majority of our information management user-base sat inside our four walls. Today that is no longer the case.
We have remote employees, traveling employees and those working out in the field (or people like me who fall into all three categories) who need to be able to consume information and get answers in real time, both online and offline. We also have a need to share and collaborate on information with third parties that exist entirely outside our organizations and beyond our firewalls.
To extend information to those who need it, wherever they are, organizations are looking to solutions that provide mobile access to information, content and processes, and capabilities like enterprise file sync and share (EFSS). Bonus points if all these supporting technologies are available from one vendor, allowing you to leverage one enterprise information platform to decrease IT sprawl.
Keep users in their preferred systems via integration
During an Industry Insights panel on the last day of the conference, I was part of the discussion about “information at work.” The consensus was that it’s no longer about information at rest (scan and archive), it’s how information workers are using that information.
The information that drives our businesses comes from various sources and needs to be accessed via different methods, different people and different systems. We’re more connected to information than we’ve ever been, and it’s more connected across our various systems.
To respond to customers, make decisions and keep processes moving forward, users need to view key information in the context of their work, from the systems that they live in every day. If your company is anything like mine, those are systems like Microsoft Outlook, an ERP or an HRIS.
Leveraging an information management platform as an integration hub is one way to put information to valuable use, giving organizations the opportunity to ditch information silos while empowering users to stay in familiar screen environments. An integration hub gives users the ability to immediately access information directly from their LOB systems, or other preferred applications or devices.
It also negates the need to create custom integrations to multiple sources while connecting all your information to get the right information, in the right context, to the right users, at the right time.
Throughout last week’s conference, we information management professionals talked challenges, but we also talked opportunity. The information management industry is more relevant than ever before and a strategic part of nearly every organization. We have a tremendous opportunity ahead of us to deliver better solutions, to empower our users and to more rapidly meet customer demand.
Are we up to the challenge?