The Importance of Knowledge Management in the Information Age

Modern organizations are awash with information, and utilizing an organization’s intellectual capital and accumulated experiences into something actionable for business has become a challenge in the Information Age. It’s a recognized competitive advantage to turn disorganized data repositories into efficient, easy to access, and searchable vaults of information. Because organizations struggle with effective and efficient ways to accumulate and leverage their intellectual capital, knowledge workers have lost opportunities to make timely and informed business decisions that would’ve benefitted from the client and market insights that Knowledge Management provides.

What is Knowledge Management?

As a concept, Knowledge Management is about equipping individual employees with the collective knowledge of the company so that people can harness prior work across the organization for the benefit of work in the present as well as the future. It in essence institutionalizes in-house knowledge for the sake of allowing your workforce to learn from and utilize core assets you have already created.
As time goes by, a great deal of the knowledge an organization creates is based upon collaboration, whether it’s derived from shared ideas between colleagues or insights picked up from interactions with clients or vendors. Capturing these lessons learned during everyday exchanges is key to capturing knowledge into something that can be codified into processes and checklists and utilized for the benefit of the rest of the company long term.

Organizations looking to institutionalize knowledge capture can turn to information management platforms that that make collected information easy to re-use down the road and can offer helpful search tools and templates to locate, tag, and organize every in-house asset so that it can be called upon constructively and efficiently whenever it is needed.

Why does Knowledge Management matter?

We live in the Information Age where information itself acts like a powerful currency that an organization can leverage as intellectual capital in the marketplace. Organizations that can effectively capture, manage, and leverage their intellectual capital, will win more business, deliver client value more efficiently and outperform their competition.

In real world terms that means that organizations that do Knowledge Management well, are less vulnerable to losing subject matter expertise over the passage of time due to lost assets or staff turnover. And employees are liberated from the drudgery of inefficient information searches that research has shown eats up as much as 30% of a knowledge worker’s time. The bottom line here is that when employees spend less time searching for the insights they need, they’ll have more time to produce value-adding initiatives and be attentive to their actual job descriptions.

An all-too-common struggle for organizations has been keeping track of relevant existing assets that can win new deals or assist with projects currently in the pipeline. Whereas organizations that adopt Knowledge Management can properly tag documents with metadata and have benefitted from placing information in a context that facilitates its re-use in a relevant way later.

Additionally, by compiling knowledge into an accumulated knowledge bank, organizations can codify the lessons they learn over the years into checklists and processes that help ensure past mistakes are not repeated. The 2020 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends revealed that 75% of respondents prioritized “creating and preserving knowledge” as an important strategy for their future and immediate business, and yet only 9% of those same respondents claimed they are equipped with the means to pull it off.

Possessing a platform that enforces, guides, and automates the steps required for knowledge capture and re-use ensures organizations are able to use Knowledge Management the right way. And in a way that can address concerns about redacting confidential client information from people not authorized to see certain things by implementing automated workflows that help ensure a flawless anonymization process with reviews, approvals and publishing. Knowledge Management can also streamline organizations with periodic reviews of assets to help maintain the most current versions, archive anything that is obsolete, or apply new tags as internal terminology evolves.

All of this points to the reality that as the business landscape continues to evolve, leveraging knowledge from within an organization is now a priority and no longer simply a “nice-to-have” luxury. Those that aren’t thinking about adopting Knowledge Management are already behind.

How can M-Files help make a difference?

The end goal of Knowledge Management is really to future-proof your organization by codifying your institutional knowledge and avoiding any repeat of past mistakes. Because at its most basic level, Knowledge Management is all about allowing knowledge to be filed and re-used as an asset. Properly done, Knowledge Management means avoiding ever having to re-invent the wheel by enabling all employees to call upon accumulated assets and to improve workflows and become more proficient in what they do, regardless of their level of expertise.
And when M-Files enters the equation as the single source of truth for all enterprise data, the task of Knowledge Management becomes that much easier. M-Files is a metadata-driven information management platform that was designed to address common knowledge management challenges with tools that automate processes related to capturing, codifying, and re-using knowledge that can be leveraged for business time and time again.

The metadata-driven M-Files platform can address common Knowledge Management challenges to help capture, codify, and re-use knowledge. With metadata, views, enterprise search, templates, and workflows, M-Files provides the right tools for organizations to keep up with the new realities of doing business in the Information Age.

Source: https://www.m-files.com/the-importance-of-knowledge-management-in-the-information-age/

Three Ways to Boost Your Microsoft 365 Investment

Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) is the undisputed leader in the digital productivity market, with more than 80 percent of the global share in productivity software. Familiar names like Excel, SharePoint, OneDrive, Word, and PowerPoint are hard-baked into the everyday foundations of most any office.

While M365 offers a wide array of powerful productivity tools that are easy to use, the very best benefits of the suite can also create problems down the road.

As Microsoft 365 tools continue to improve and become even easier to use, the challenge to effectively and efficiently manage the resulting output can paradoxically create new productivity challenges. The risks of document sprawl, siloed information, and compliance gaps only grow as it becomes easier for any knowledge worker to quickly create, duplicate, and share content.

Forward-thinking organizations can leverage the power of a metadata-driven document management platform to augment the power of M365, secure information processes, and ensure compliance without sacrificing the productivity benefits of the overall Microsoft 365 investment. Here’s how:

Taming information chaos

As organizations grow, information grows. As information grows, information sprawls. The result? Knowledge workers often struggle to find the right information in an ocean of data spread across disconnected data repositories, including SharePoint and OneDrive, as well as non-Microsoft systems.

An astounding 56 percent of surveyed organizations say their document management systems don’t connect with other systems in place.
While Microsoft provides powerful data storage and management tools, M365 doesn’t include an out-of-the-box plan or policy mapping how information is managed. Documents get duplicated, version control fails, and access management can’t adjust to the chaotic change. Knowledge workers waste time finding the right information, get frustrated, and “re-invent the wheel,” with their own storage schemes, leading to poor productivity.

To tame the information chaos, a top-of-class, metadata-driven document management platform can connect Microsoft and non-Microsoft systems to create a single source of truth over enterprise data. Such a platform can deploy search capabilities to help find information based on what it is rather than where it is, as well as enabling control over document access, versions, publishing, and distribution.

Embrace automation to fight data frustration

Nearly 8 in 10 workers surveyed report they’ve recreated documents which already existed because they were unable to find it on their corporate network. When information management strategy relies on manual processes and employee diligence, errors happen, costs rise, and everyone gets more stressed and frustrated.

Because Microsoft 365 lacks automated rules on how to name files or where to store them, content can easily “go dark,” slip through the cracks or wind up on a team members local or even personal device. When documents aren’t automatically connected to business data or processes, business processes must be tracked manually, wasting time and money.

An intelligent document management platform connects documents to business data to drive improved daily workflows and processes and guides users when creating new content or filing existing documents.

Details like file naming, permissions, or the next document reviewer can be automated, while workflows, views, tasks, and notifications help keep daily work organized.

Ensure compliance with access controls

Data compliance controls are no longer a “nice-to-have” across the business landscape—they are a “must-have.” Despite its many productivity strengths, Microsoft 365 does not include out-of-the-box compliance tools. For many organizations, this means access control —a key aspect of compliance management—can become cumbersome and difficult to keep up to date.

Following policies and procedures requires extra work and relies on employee diligence, and, as we’ve seen, such manual processes inevitably lead to errors. In the world of compliance, errors can not only cost lost hours and revenue, but can also result in huge fines.
Without a document management strategy in place, audit trails can break with access control issues and document duplication. The bottom line: Compliance doesn’t follow the speed of business and audits create unnecessary workloads.

By deploying a metadata-driven document management platform, organizations can reduce business risk and ensure compliance by automating access controls to follow the rhythm and rules of all internal and external rules. Industry, standard, and regulatory compliance controls are embedded into daily work as automated workflows seamlessly gather and retain compliance evidence. As a bonus, each content access and edit event creates an electronic audit trail.

Maximizing the Microsoft Advantage

As Microsoft 365 is undoubtedly poised to continue its reign as the GOAT office productivity tool, organizations need to constantly keep up with innovative ways to complement the strengths of M365. A metadata-driven document management platform, like M-Files, integrates into Microsoft 365 and acts as the single point of access for all enterprise data. Team members can find, access, and manage all connected data, regardless of its repository through Microsoft user interfaces.

With M-Files, Microsoft 365 users can:

• Add information governance over documents accessed from Teams
• Connect Outlook emails and attachments with clients and projects
• Organize information across multiple SharePoint sites and search with business relevant criteria.
• Access and use information from non-Microsoft repositories directly in Teams, Outlook, SharePoint, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Source: https://www.m-files.com/three-ways-to-boost-your-microsoft-365-investment/

How to Use Information Management to Secure a Competitive Advantage

That old saying “knowledge is power” is one that all of us are very familiar with, whether it’s from work, school, or life. Gaining that insight or competitive edge by accessing and consuming information can help everyone make better-informed opinions and decisions and improve potential outcomes. But as more and more data is saved and consumed across organizations, it also becomes harder to find the right information when you need it.

When it comes to managing your information within an organization, that “insider’s gold” needs to be easily leveraged by your employees so that the latest and greatest insights can be a key part of what makes your company successful. But how can a company ensure that all of this is managed in a centralized location? The answer is information management.

Let’s look at the three keys to securing a competitive advantage with your company’s information.

1. Deploy federated search capabilities

What’s the use of having “insider’s gold” in your information if you can’t find it when you need it? This is where federated search comes in. Federated search allows knowledge workers to search multiple collections of text at the same time, making it easier for employees to find the data they need to excel at their jobs and improve business performance.
So how does it work? Most organizations have information stored on several different repositories – including network shares, hard disk drives, and cloud-based storage systems – that can soon become a complex, disparate web. Rather than wasting time searching for a particular document in each of these repositories, federated search allows knowledge workers to go through every repository at once. This increases the speed employees can retrieve information and act on the insight contained within it, which not only helps employees work smarter, but also improves client relationships by having access to the information they require at your fingertips.

2. Maximize the value of data

To become a successful digital organization in today’s increasingly turbulent business landscape, companies need a strategy to not only easily discover the information housed within the organization, but also maximize the value of critical data. We have already established that knowledge is power, but failure to value and manage data can leave knowledge work businesses open to losses because of improper security, problems with sharing and collaborating, and poor data quality.

By instituting an information management strategy, companies can often improve inefficiencies within their business and reveal opportunities to improve revenues. This can include enforcing better integration with marketing and sales systems to improve customer service or learning the market value of your data and offering new services based on that information, which all create additional revenue streams. However, the biggest gain from maximizing the value of your data can often be felt within your organization. Management can learn to recognize trends and pinpoint problems by using data as business intelligence, enhancing organizational efficiency, and establishing new strategies to help the business exceed its goals.

3. Keep your data secure and compliant

The best information management strategies do more than simply relieve companies of the burden of finding information. They enable employees to gain insight from that information and secure it to reduce business risk and ensure the company remains compliant with data privacy regulations. Most businesses consider compliance a burden, but it should be looked at as an opportunity to win and retain customers. Prioritizing data privacy protection can be a major competitive differentiator.

Businesses, especially in heavily regulated industries like finance or health care, need to set and enforce governance rules and company policies to ensure only authorized people can view and share sensitive information. The added benefit? Governance rules can make it easier to keep audit trails that can be accessed at any time. Therefore, when a customer or regulator asks for evidence about a potential data privacy issue, the organization can easily pull the information requested in real-time to avoid hefty fines.

Focusing on compliance not only increases customer loyalty by ensuring data rights are being respected, but it can also help with data cleansing, which can improve efficiency. Creating a data map of the organization can help streamline operations by eliminating “ROT” – redundant, obsolete, and trivial data that can eat up storage and bog down processes – and ensure customer information is kept up to date.

By deploying an effective information management strategy, organizations can use their information to make more informed business decisions, improve customer loyalty, and create new revenue streams. Information is the golden ticket to help increase competitive advantage and improve the bottom line – you just need to know how to use it and protect it.

source: https://www.m-files.com/how-to-use-information-management-to-secure-a-competitive-advantage/

Promoting digital dexterity in an evolving workplace?

In brief…

• The transition from remote work to hybrid to return-to-work creates challenges as organizations struggle to attract and retain top talent.
• Focusing on tools that improve data or document management, workflow automation, and content collaboration promote the growth of “digital dexterity.”
• Employees and organizations report that improvements in “digital dexterity” improve retention, employee satisfaction, and productivity.

In an evolving world of work-from-home vs. hybrid vs. return-to-office tensions, experts say promoting “digital dexterity” may be the key to attracting, recruiting, and retaining a more engaged, talented knowledge workforce through the use of digital tools, such as a document management system or collaboration platform.

A recent report published by Gartner® suggests:

“Improving organizational outcomes with technology and optimizing technology experiences is critical for long-term prosperity. The most successful and innovative digital workplace teams have shifted their operating goals from operational fitness, to workforce transformation by promoting new and more effective ways of working. The focus is on creating a human-centric strategy to improve digital dexterity —where employees can easily see the benefits to themselves and their teams.”

Organizations that deploy optimized technology experiences—including intelligent information systems—are seeing measurable progress in areas such as employee wellness/happiness, learning/skills growth, retention, and productive organizational culture.

“This combination of personal and business digital acceleration led organizations to recognize that a digitally dexterous workforce — one that has the ambition and ability to use technology for better business outcomes — is an essential element for driving organizational prosperity moving forward. as the report notes.”

What is digital dexterity ?

In a world where the personal work environment has shifted with changing global disruptions —from office to WFH to hybrid to office again—workers are becoming more stressed. Like a game of musical chairs, the “how” of getting work done keeps changing.

Over the last decade and even before the pandemic, experts began to recognize the concept of “digital employee experience” as technology replaced cubicles and physical conference rooms.

The report adds: “The digital employee experience is primarily managed by the digital workplace team which serves as the frontline for most employee/IT interactions. This team’s responsibilities include: device management, intranet governance, personal productivity and team collaboration applications, technology enablement strategies and other support services.”

“Important emerging business practices highlighted in this research collection include promoting digital skills development in the hybrid workplace with the four pillars of digital dexterity: data, process, content, and collaboration.” The report further notes: “Organizations can use the digital workplace to not only promote workforce digital dexterity but also to drive personal and team growth, and support organizational goals around culture and community.”

How to promote digital dexterity

According to Gartner:

“Upskilling employees is the key to realizing the value from investments in digital workplace tools. Application leaders responsible for the digital workplace must identify the key data skills needed to support new ways of working.”

“Promoting social connections and collaborative relationships between colleagues across the organization helps employee engagement, retention and productivity.”
So, what happens when an organization commits to the digital experience-focused pillars of data, process, content, and collaboration? According to the report:

• “80 percent of employees say improving their digital dexterity will positively impact their career advancement.”
• “91 percent of employees say that improving their digital dexterity improves their work effectiveness.”
• “90 percent of employees say that intuitive and effective technology has a positive impact on their overall job satisfaction.”

M-Files: The Path to Digital Dexterity

M-Files offers an innovative way to promote digital dexterity for knowledge workers with an industry-leading, metadata-driven document management platform. By using the power of metadata (which is simply data about other data), M?Files:

• Helps ensure everyone is working on the latest version of a document;
• Empowers workers to collaborate in real-time, ensuring that no work is duplicated;
• Focuses on “what” a file is, rather than “where” it is, creating a more intuitive way to search;
• Increases consistency of work and reduces errors by automating workflows;
• Reduces business risk by ensuring compliance.

To access the full Gartner report, “Transform the Digital Employee Experience with an Evolving Digital Workplace,” click here.

Source: Gartner, Transform the Digital Employee Experience with an Evolving Digital Workplace, Matt Cain, Lane Severson, Tori Paulman, 14 October 2022.

Source: https://www.m-files.com/promoting-digital-dexterity-in-an-evolving-workplace/

Benefits of Intelligent Information Management

Today, as the result of inefficiencies in information management, 30 percent of knowledge workers spend 30 percent of their working time looking for information, rather than on something profitable.

Metadata, by its definition, tells more about other data. It gives common “keys” to finding information based on what it is, rather than where it is located.

With metadata, information can be categorized in a common, efficient way, so that everyone has access to it. Metadata, while already providing a lot of benefits for the organization, is still only one step on the path towards improved profitability.

To efficiently manage all organizational data, you need a method of finding, identifying, managing and processing information regardless of its location. You need connectors to access data in other repositories and intelligent tools to find and manage the information you need.

Webopedia explains intelligent information management as a set of processes and underlying technology solutions that enable organizations to understand, organize and manage all sorts of datatypes.

Intelligent information management comes from a metadata-driven approach to document management combined with the ability to manage information across systems and repositories without the need for migration. Additionally, AI is part of the package to help automate the related processes.

Information management is key to achieving both more profitability and compliance with laws and regulations. Intelligent information management provides transparency to workflows and helps you adhere to compliance requirements more easily.

Source: https://www.m-files.com/resources/en/rt-blog-fc-en/10-benefits-of-intelligent-information-management-3

What Organizations Should Know About Getting Started With Workflow Automation

In today’s business climate, things are moving faster than ever. Organizations are now tasked with managing and protecting more information, and speed and efficiency have taken over as two of the top priorities that enable organizations to keep up with the pace of business.

However, many businesses still rely on the legacy approaches to managing that influx of information, such as the multistep process of mailing, waiting and responding before a contract can be finalized. Organizations today should instead consider solutions that enable them to increase productivity, improve efficiency and deliver significant business impact. One way in which organizations can achieve these goals is by incorporating automation into their existing workflows.

Workflow automation automates everyday work tasks according to predetermined business rules to increase consistency, improve efficiency and achieve faster throughput. It helps make real-world processes simpler to follow and more repeatable. Workflow automation rarely makes a process fully automated, but the streamlining and elimination of mechanical steps, and the guidance it provides, can have a meaningful impact on the bottom line.

For example, here are a few of the benefits that can be expected from workflow automation:

Increased Productivity

Automating specific tasks around client information can help reduce some of the mundane, time-consuming tasks that often lead to unnecessary cycles. Through workflow automation, employees are instead guided through the process automatically, so they don’t have to physically remember what comes next or spend countless minutes searching for that long-lost document.

When an employee starts a new client project, for example, workflow automation can automatically provide the background context, as well as pre-fill templates for project deliverables. Similarly, when the deliverables are being finalized, workflow automation can ensure all the required reviews and approvals are completed before sharing the final outcome.

Feeling Of Safety With workflow automation, existing processes can be set up to be intuitively followed so that work is done on time and information is proactively delivered to the right destination. The correct workflows, security controls, records management and approvals are applied to information automatically, helping to ensure that employees no longer need to be fearful of making mistakes.

Strong Compliance Standards

Managing information is a critical part of achieving compliance, especially in highly regulated industries.

Workflow automation can automatically ensure policies are enforced, documents are secured and files are created, stored, used and retained in ways that comply with regulatory requirements. Workflow automation can help make sure projects move through all required steps appropriately and all rules are followed to meet compliance requirements, which can help ensure only the right people have access to sensitive information.

Improved Audit Trail

Workflow automation can also enable organizations to track information version history and immediately view an audit trail. Every step is documented automatically with a date and time stamp. Organizations gain instant audit trail visibility across all documents to ease control oversight and show evidence of compliance.

The traceable records provided by automated workflows provide proof that a required process is being followed, such as access only being granted to specific individuals, which is valuable to meet stringent external audit requirements. For example, an ISO-compliant company that has implemented workflows in a quality management system (QMS) can prove that they are processing corrective and preventative actions properly.

How To Get Started With Workflow Automation

As companies continue to add additional tools to their technology stack—from ERP (enterprise resource planning) to CRM (customer relationship management) and HR (human resources) systems—it’s important to ensure efforts aren’t being duplicated across multiple systems. Workflow automation can help be the practical tool that glues everything together.

To begin your workflow automation journey, it’s important to remember it’s OK to start small and grow. Begin with a process that won’t be overly complex to automate and use that as a means for validating the solution, easing change management and learning how to best implement automation in your organization.

Think of a process that isn’t mission critical, so if there are problems or delays with the implementation, the effects are minimal. A process that is limited in scope with respect to the organization (i.e., a department-specific process, rather than companywide) is often a good starting point. Starting with a process limited in scope can also enable more efficient testing and iterating within a smaller group to gain the most actionable feedback.

Once automating noncritical processes have been mastered, it’s easier to build on that by automating additional and more complex solutions. Starting small enables you to better understand and define your goals for implementing an automated solution so that you can ensure the automation is improving processes over time and providing the desired value.

When incorporating workflow automation, the biggest hurdle is typically the fact that people are so used to manually approving and moving information, that they’ve turned this into a key part of their job versus truly understanding it’s simply busy work. Having the discussions with employees to help them understand how workflow automation can help them focus on higher value work, instead of spending endless cycles on unnecessary manual labor, is a key part of a successful workflow automation strategy. Humans remain the biggest hindrance of success if they don’t understand the potential value from the onset.

With the massive increase in the amount of data that organizations generate, process and collect from myriad data sources, workflow automation can enable businesses to keep pace with constantly changing environments. By starting small and communicating the benefits with employees upfront, workflow automation can increase efficiency, productivity and compliance efforts—but only if approached in a well-planned manner.

Source: https://www.m-files.com/resources/en/tt-news-featured-en/what-organizations-should-know-about-getting-started-with-workflow-automation