How Long Does It Actually Take to Find a Document?
Let’s track the timeline of responses over the last twenty years…
IDC reports that workers who manage, create, or edit documents for a company were spending up to 2.5 hours per day searching for what they needed.
IDC published Moving Beyond Search: Advanced Data Gathering in the Enterprise, which includes the comment:
“Nearly 70% of respondents (knowledge workers) to IDC’s KMWorld Conference search survey indicated that they spend five or more hours per week doing online information searches, with 16% indicating that they spend 12 hours a week or more doing searches.”
Gartner says that professionals spend 50% of their time searching for information, and on average, take 18 minutes to locate each document.
So, what do we know?
It seems like through the past few decades, the time it takes to find information has decreased. That checks out. In 2001, we didn’t have near the technology aptitude we have now. It’s worth mentioning that the above statistics are nowhere near homogenous in their methodology, a point made very poignantly by Martin White in his LinkedIn Pulse article “Time spent searching”? – a chronology of the myth and some recent research.
Anecdotally, I know that I used to spend a bit of time trying to find information before I was introduced to M-Files. Whether it was 2.5 hours a day or 18 minutes per document is irrelevant, because I can tell you that it was way more time than it needed to be — switching between my laptop folders, Salesforce and other systems trying to find the right version.
For argument’s sake, let’s assume that it took less than the 18 minutes Gartner suggests it takes to find a document. Let’s assume less than 15 minutes… less than 12… less than 10. Let’s just say, on average, it takes 8 minutes to find a document.
I can tell you emphatically and unequivocally…
It now takes me all of 15 seconds to find any piece of information I need with the help of M-Files — maybe 30 seconds tops if it’s down the search results a bit.
That’s a far cry from 8 minutes or even 5 minutes. Imagine how much time you could recover for more productive work if literally every document you needed — created by you or someone else, for this project or that client — was available in one location in just a couple clicks.
The Power of Federated Search and Google-Like Results
As we’ve mentioned before, federated search describes a search technology that can scan multiple sources for information at the same time. Arguably one of M-Files’ most compelling features is the enablement of true federated search.
Connecting to All of the Systems and Nooks and Crannies Where Information Hides
M-Files vaults are themselves a repository where users can store files, documents and other information.
But M-Files also connects to existing systems to present information no matter where it lives. Imagine a world where it doesn’t matter if the information you need is in your CRM, SharePoint, ERP, network folders, wherever. It means that you can deploy M-Files without disturbing existing systems that certain business units or departments prefer. You can institute an overarching, scalable information management strategy without massive data migration.
A Single Keyword is All You Need to Find Information
Simply type in a keyword and find what you need. Let’s talk about that.
Metadata. That’s what underpins the entire M-Files intelligent information management platform. It’s what enables you to find what you need with just a keyword. It’s what effectively decouples business information from file location and places the emphasis where it needs to be — the content of the file.
The result is simple, yet profound: files are super easy to find.
Finding information on Google is second nature for us. Type in a word or phrase and boom… page after page of results. The results are presented by relevance and can easily be filtered by date, website and other parameters.
Now imagine you had the same experience when searching for business information — where you simply enter a keyword (and a filter or two, if you want), and the system returned a search window with the most relevant results at the top.
This is what happens in M-Files. Again, no matter where your information is stored, M-Files reaches across your entire information ecosystem to present the most relevant search results.
Between you and me, M-Files has a ton of incredible features that turn your operation into a well-oiled machine. But when friends and family ask what my company does, this is my go-to. I explain this concept of federated search and the lightbulbs start to go off.
As a business leader, there is a plethora of information that your organization has to deal with—physical and electronic documents, data generated by multiple business processes, workflows, mobile apps, and various communication channels, including social media, and many more.
Is this high influx of information giving you sleepless nights? Are you struggling with:
Wastage of time and resources in segregating documents based on their type
Connecting customer communications with organizational processes and workflows
Analyzing and predicting data and historical performance
An organization typically uses workflows, documents, and integrations with various applications. These processes can be fully or partially automated, while others are manual. Additionally, frontend systems might be more optimized than backend processes. Coupled with other enterprise challenges, this disconnect between frontend and backend processes can lead to information silos, resulting in ineffective and slower decision making, further impacting your customers’ experiences.
Amidst all this chaos, you are most likely losing out on extracting valuable insights, essentially rendering data as a liability instead of an asset.
Sure, technology is already involved in gathering information. But you need to leverage the right set of capabilities to create opportunities from this unstructured data. So, what can you do to avoid drowning in a sea of information and to safely navigate toward efficient and well-informed decision making?
Moving from Chaos to Order
Here are six initiatives you can take to optimize your data!
Automate your business-critical, document-intensive processes to efficiently manage data, create a paperless environment, and ensure secure storage, search, and archival
Contextualize your data to extract relevant and meaningful information, thereby driving intelligent decision-making
Drive meaningful engagement with your customers across multiple channels and devices by analyzing their intent or sentiments for personalized interactions using artificial intelligence
Generate business insights and use analytical tools to create better, and more targeted, offerings for your customers, and to enhance future strategies
Auto-classify documents based on characteristics like structure, text, or both for automated sorting, sequencing, and classification of documents
Analyze trends and predict the impact of strategic changes in your organization using process insights tools to overcome bottlenecks and create real-world simulations
Managing and analyzing data holds far more value than just optimizing your business processes. Data analytics can, in some cases, predict the unpredictable. At the very least, data and insights can help you adapt rapidly to unprecedented situations.
In fact, according to Gartner, “Data and analytics combined with artificial intelligence (AI) technologies will be paramount in the effort to predict, prepare and respond in a proactive and accelerated manner to a global crisis and its aftermath.”
Expecting (and Conquering) the Unexpected
Digital transformation has been widely regarded as the ultimate enabler of business continuity, during and (prospectively) beyond the pandemic.
To accelerate your digital transformation initiatives and drive your organizational growth, you must focus on improving your decision-making capabilities and automate your customers’ journeys wherever possible. This will enable your enterprise to eliminate information chaos and pave a path that leads to customer experience and process innovation.
According to Gartner, information contributes at least 20-25% of an average organization’s value today. Studies have uncovered countless ways to use data as an asset to help improve businesses by reducing costs, improving customer satisfaction, and managing risks. Along with the paradigm shift towards valuing information as an asset, companies also need to find opportunities to maximize its worth by focusing more upon data governance. The rapid escalation in the number of information organizations need to handle makes governance even more critical.
How Data Volume and Value Make Data Governance Essential
Data governance covers everything related to managing the security, accessibility, quality, and usability of information within an organization. For example, it includes steps taken to ensure businesses have reliable, protected, and accurate information to make better decisions and help serve customers. A governance plan generally includes policies and the tools to implement and enforce those rules.
As quoted on TechTarget, Gartner analyst Andrew White said that most of all, good governance don’t stand alone. Instead, businesses should consider it a core piece of their strategy to achieve overall business goals.
HubSpot created a simple but compelling infographic to illustrate how the rising tide of the volume, value, and even a variety of data underscores the importance of data governance. Some figures they published include:
Out of all data created in the world, 90 percent has been generated within the past two years, an escalating trend that will almost certainly continue.
Typical organizations spend 3.5 to 7.0 percent of their overall revenue on information technology. For example, a company with $100 million in revenue might expend up to $7 million just on managing information.
Out of organizations polled, three-quarters viewed information governance as a critical factor to their success.
At the same time as most of the information workers viewed information management as vital, less than half thought that top executives understood the importance of governance the as very important.
More specifically, 42 percent of these high performers already had robust plans in place and another 24 percent had made plans to follow. Of the rest, 13 percent had begun their efforts with only some departments, 16 percent had policies that were still in incubation, and only five percent had no formal governance policies at all.
The Future of Improved Data Governance
Traditionally, businesses set information governance policies crafted to reduce risks. For example, these companies wanted to ensure they protected and managed their data to avoid compliance problems and to preserve high-quality information for reporting. According to AIIM, today’s high-performing companies would also add the additional benefits of improving customer service, responding faster to changes, and to make better decisions through analytics and high-quality data.
To improve information governance, AIIM suggested including three vital steps:
Establish an IG team: Start with top leadership and include critical stakeholders and of course, the IT department. Make certain employees understand how managing, controlling, and protecting information will improve business and in turn, their own situations. Keep the door open for feedback on initial plans to all levels.
Audit existing information: Organizations need to understand, classify, and audit their information to have any chance of assigning both value and risk. This process can offer you all sorts of value because you will know which sorts of data you should spend the most on protecting, storing, and accessing and which data you might invest less in archiving. Sometimes, you may uncover valuable data that you could use if you only knew it existed.
Weed out what you don’t need: Information ROT refers to the kind of redundant, obsolete, and trivial data that can bog down your storage, systems, and processes. According to Veritas, a storage tech company, about one-third of all data stored will never be useful or used. Another 50 percent is considered “dark data” with no known value. Together, these provide no value and run up cumulative excess costs of trillions of dollars worldwide. Alternatively, you may find some of this dark data valuable and realize you need to invest more in protecting and using it.
Choose the Right Technology to Support Information Governance
At M-Files, we built our business around the importance of helping our customers control and manage information through its lifecycle. With automatic and even AI-enabled features, this system lets you manage records from conception to eventual deletion or archival. You can even set security and processing features that ensure compliance with your company’s governance policies and most efficient business procedures. At the same time, editing rules will maintain data quality and reduce human error. Even better, you can turn to one interface to find anything, no matter where it’s stored or even from which remote location you need to access it from.
You and your team can focus on the challenging task of creating good information governance policies and processes. After that, you can set rules within M-Files to ensure they’re enforced. Give us a chance to show you exactly how M-Files will improve your governance and overall business by contacting us today with your questions or requests for a demo or free trial.
It’s no secret that remote work or telecommuting was gaining popularity in the United States over the past decade. According to one recent study, about 4.3 million people work remotely at least half the time — a number equivalent to about 3.2% of the entire workforce. All told, the number of people who work from home in some capacity has increased by an impressive 140% since 2005 alone — a trend that showed absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Based on all of the above, it’s safe to say that it was already established that remote work played an important role in the future of business. Few people probably realized that “the future” would arrive quite as quickly as it did.
At one point during the Coronavirus pandemic, more people were in lockdown in the United States than were alive during World War II. Many employees were working remotely for the first time and countless organizations had to find ways to adapt to the brave new world we found ourselves in.
These same organizations are now trying to figure out the best strategy to accommodate these newly remote, flexible workers. Believe it or not, the most important component of that strategy is still the one that far too many people are overlooking.
Why Information Management Matters Most of All
There are a number of important components that are necessary to make any remote employee strategy truly work. Obviously, you need video conferencing and chat tools so that people can communicate and collaborate with one another. These workers need not only reliable Internet connections of their own, but a secure way to access a business’ network so that they can continue to share data and be as productive as possible.
But while these elements are important… they’re not the most important component that should be at the heart of your strategy.
By far, the number one most important part of any successful remote, flexible work strategy has to do with a true information platform at the heart of it all. At its core, an information management system is exactly what it sounds like — a solution designed to enable not only the storage of critical data, but also the organization and retrieval of that same information.
Think about it like this. Your average business is creating an enormous amount of data on a daily basis pertaining to not only the work of its employees but also its products, its services and its customers. But without a way to share that information and make it easy for anyone to access from anywhere, the actionable intelligence and insight it contains remains trapped inside. At that point, the data is essentially meaningless — it’s little more than a bunch of 1s and 0s sitting on a hard drive somewhere.
During a period where more people are working remotely than ever, the problem of information sprawl actually gets worse, not better. Data is being created from so many difference sources that are essentially siloed off from one another that communication, collaboration AND productivity are harmed in ways that you simply cannot afford.
By having the right information management software at the heart of your remote, flexible work strategy, on the other hand, you accomplish a number of important goals — essentially all at the exact same time.
Give your employees a solution that gives them anywhere, anytime access to all of the critical data they need to do their jobs in the most effective way possible.
You also have an overarching strategy that applies not just to the sharing of information, but that also works in accordance with all of the principles of governance, compliance and security.
So, you’re not just providing your employees access to the tools necessary to do their jobs. You’re doing so in a way that gives you better visibility into who is accessing what information and from where, which ensures compliance with rules and regulations you must adhere to. You’re also adding yet another layer of security, thus protecting your employees, your customers and the very business you’ve already worked so hard to build.
But the major reason why this is so important right now is that sooner rather than later, COVID-19 will be officially behind us. However, the businesses that we’re about to return to will likely barely resemble the ones we left in mid-March. Remote, flexible work is absolutely here to stay and by putting this critical component in place as an organic part of your remote, flexible work strategy today, you’ll be able to reap benefits that will continue to pay dividends long after COVID-19 is finally gone.
If you’d like to find out more about why an information management solution is the number one most important part of any remote, flexible work strategy, or if you just have any additional questions you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, we’re here to be a resource for you and your team.