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/

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/

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

Grow Your Business by Going Green

What if you could do something good for the planet and make your workday easier?  It sounds crazy in our digital era, but the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper annually. In the last 20 years, the usage of paper products in the US reached 208 million tons (up from 92 million) ? a growth of 126%.

It’d be one thing if all that paper served an important purpose, but according to one recent study, it’s estimated that about 45% of all paper documents that are printed in offices end up in the garbage by the end of the day. The same study estimates that companies spend more than $120 billion per year — every year — on printed forms. Luckily, there’s a more ecological and economical choice.

By digitizing your paper-centric documentation processes, and automating them, you can unlock powerful efficiency and productivity. M-Files partners with services that help analyze and scan your company’s physical documents, so you can securely digitize your data. Once it’s entered in M-Files, everyone on your team can instantly access the most up-to-date version of a document and share it in milliseconds. No printers, fax machines, or copiers are needed.

Green looks good on you

Deploying a document management solution as part of your business’ green policy won’t just eliminate large amounts of wasted paper, it can also spruce up your image. It shows customers and partners that your company is striving to be more environmentally conscious while potentially creating a more satisfying workplace for employees.

According to a study by Neilsen, corporate sustainability is important to a majority of people ? 85% of millennials and 79% of Gen X say it is “extremely or very important that companies implement programs to improve the environment.”

Many consumers around the world are adjusting their shopping habits to align with their values. For earth-conscious consumers, your business’ ecological actions truly matter.

Going paperless saves time

Organizations with an overarching system in place to handle all their information electronically not only reduce their impact on the environment but also operate at a vastly superior level of efficiency compared to those that still rely on paper files and folders. Given the large expense and inconvenience of paper documents, maintaining them in an electronic document management system leads to a substantial increase in efficiency and a decrease in operational costs.

Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/grow-your-business-by-going-green

Sustainability with Intelligent Information Management

Fighting climate change has undoubtedly become, and rightly so, one of the major drivers of people’s behavior in recent years. At the same time, the importance of sustainability to business has grown too. Whilst companies have to a large extent realized their responsibility on sustainability, the ability to find ways to become ever more environmentally healthy remains a challenge.

Many companies have or are initiating their environmental policies, aligned with an increasing amount of similar requirements from their trading partners, which places demands upon their own internal processes. Thus, sustainability has become a clear factor on B2B sales, not only B2C, As people are placing more and more importance on these topics in their personal lives, green values have become an important factor.  Employee demands for sustainability change are becoming selection criteria when applying for a new job. This places far more emphasis on a prospective employer to show a progressive approach to these demands if they are to persuade new talent to join. 

Challenges for sustainability in Information Management

The role of Information Management is often not the most obvious when it comes to a sustainable way of working. The most notable effect of modern IT systems is clearly their ability to support collaboration over vast distances, i.e., as an enabler of remote work and avoiding unnecessary travel to business meetings. The COVID-19 epidemic has quite naturally sped up the transformation towards remote work, so communications over remote meetings with Teams, Zoom, etc., have pretty much become the norm.

Even though modern remote meeting systems enable communications over remote connections, they are not very good for non-formal communications that we tend to do while in the office or meeting clients or partners on site. The lack of such non-formal communication places even more importance in information management processes, including tools for employees to easily carry out their responsibilities.

Traditionally, managing the company’s business critical documents has been especially reliant on the non-formal communications taking place in the workplace and physical meetings. Finding the correct documents or previous work has been done by asking around in the office. A lot of documentation is simply replicated, with approval processes largely completed by signing paper copies in the office. Thus, better means for document & content management are certainly one challenge that companies need to address, allowing operations with reduced overheads.

Besides providing means for remote work, there are other factors in Information Management systems that affect the total CO2 footprint of a company. As these systems consume substantial amounts of energy, optimizing their usage of computing resources and digital storage would result in a more sustainable workplace. Unfortunately, such issues were largely overlooked when companies initially set up their information management systems and, therefore, offer considerable room for sustainability enhancement.

Sustainability challenges have gained more attention lately. For example, Capgemini has recently produced a report and an article about “Sustainable IT” that outlines very similar conclusions as mentioned here: Sustainable IT Leads to Significant Benefits But Is Still Not a Focus for Most Organizations.

How to make content management an asset for sustainability

State-of-the-art information management usually relies upon Enterprise Content Management (ECM), i.e., managing a company’s documents and the information related to them. The question is: How can a company become more sustainable by improving the way they are using and managing their documentation?

Reflecting the challenges outlined above, the benefits of an ECM system for a company from the sustainability viewpoint can be summarized by the following three points:

  1. A common system for accessing documents and supporting digitized processes.  This approach enables effective collaboration on the documents, typically involving review & approval processes, even when working remotely. Thus, an ECM system can act as an important enabler for remote work, avoiding travel to meet clients and partners whilst enhancing customer service.
  2. Avoiding document copies.  Document version management in ECM systems and the ability to use document links instead of email attachments, reduce storage requirements, thus saving energy required for maintaining multiple document repositories. In practice, this means that the companies can reduce the amount of network drives & other repositories by utilizing modern ECM systems.
  3. Cloud environments enable computing resources to be securely shared. A cloud-based solution is a collaborative resource distributed among many users / clients, thus using processing power much more efficiently than systems relying on the processors in each users’ PCs or company servers. In this manner, using cloud-based ECM solutions can drastically reduce the overall computing power needed for document management.

Improving a company’s sustainability can be seen as a ripple effect: changes that by themselves seem small but combined together make a real difference. Applying modern ECM technology to enable intelligent information management is an important part of striving towards more environmentally healthy way of working.

Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/sustainability-with-intelligent-information-management

Productive Processes and Profit Begins at Home!

In this age of 24/7 Client focus, it is easy for Practice Management to lose sight of the fundamentally important job of looking for internal systematic operating process bottlenecks.

In many cases hidden away in the business, there are functions that remain supported primarily by a mixture of seemingly permanent ‘temporary Shadow Systems” such as spreadsheets and shared drives, all supported by manually driven processes.

Quite often, due to budget prioritization, resource focus or simply not allocating “your own business review time”, opportunities to introduce robust, low-risk digital solutions to help improve productivity and bottom-line profitability are missed.

Typical questions that need to be asked include:

  • Can we ensure our compliance and governance processes are adhered to?
  • Are our data sources secure and controlled?
  • Are we maximising the value of our data?
  • Do our processes work seamlessly across the Practice and externally to our Clients?
  • Can we guarantee that GDPR request can be answered?
  • Am I sure that my KPI’s are based upon fact?
  • How can we work smarter?

Many organizations do not have an accurate accounting of their own IT estate. How many and what types of servers? How many and what types of applications? How well utilized is the IT estate? Are there redundancies in application licenses and maintenance? How much of the estate is at the end of service life (EOSL)? Can the estate be consolidated based on newer infrastructure?

Regular analysis of the costs and performance of your legacy applications identifies the gaps, performance degradation, outages, and service interruptions that inevitably arise.  The resulting analytics highlight areas that need to be modernized to improve the performance, availability, and support of your systems.

Importantly, the benefits of process optimization have a wider reach than just the business processes. The operational knowledge and experience needed to manage and oversee people-dependent processes tend to be concentrated in the heads of a few key individuals. This results in greater risk to the business. 

Ironically, fewer people with complete knowledge of key processes, also complicate succession planning, making transitions prone to disruptions, relationships with partners strained, and general discontent within the organization.

Ultimately, a more structured, stress-free working environment that enables your teams to function effectively, enhances well-being, and can contribute to staff retention, will enhance productivity, increase customer satisfaction and contribute to greater profitability.

Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/productive-processes-and-profit-begins-at-home