The Cost Of Doing Nothing With Your Data
Dan Mallin is CEO & Founder of Lucy, a one-stop AI-powered knowledge platform for all the data an organization owns and licenses.
As businesses get settled into the new world of hybrid work, executives are focusing on the best tools to help their teams succeed while navigating new challenges. Ease, productivity and collaboration are the main buzzwords as companies try to make hybrid situations work. Perhaps the most important goal as new solutions and platforms are evaluated is efficiency.
This is particularly important to enterprise organizations with huge amounts of data. No matter where employees work—whether home, office or both—the value of a company’s data can be the fine line between success and eventual failure.
Think about it: companies are generating new data every day at an alarming rate. More importantly, where the data has been transformed by employees or systems and stored in documents. This is happening in PowerPoint, Word, PDF, subscription newsletters, audio and videos. These files—or knowledge—are unstructured, making it hard to access and use again, meaning its value diminishes quickly.
As my colleague wrote in Research World: “Much of this data is stored on internal systems like SharePoint with the assumption that it can be accessed and used. Unfortunately, unstructured data is extremely difficult to search.” There is so much knowledge within enterprise organizations that, when mined and managed correctly, could help companies make smarter, better informed decisions, faster.
In addition to making better business decisions, organized and managed knowledge means more efficiency. When workers need to find a file or information across hundreds of SharePoint sites, it can take hours trying to find what they need. Enterprise search leads to lists of files. If you want to review the top 10 files and each is only 10 pages long, you have 100 pages to read to find your answer. Our Fortune 1,000 clients have done studies of hundreds of their employees, and have found that the average knowledge worker spends 10 hours per week searching through tools and systems for answers. This equates to 25% of a typical work week. Worse yet, they are likely not to have found what they were looking for after the time has been spent.
That’s a lot of time—and a large amount of a worker’s salary going towards internal search. That search most often includes asking others for help finding what they need, compounding the cost. Not only are employees losing time, the company is losing a significant amount of money. Companies are starting to see the cost of doing nothing with their data, and seeing the importance in knowledge management.
Defining Knowledge Management
But what exactly is knowledge management? IBM Cloud Education defines it and its importance well: “Knowledge management (KM) is the process of identifying, organizing, storing and disseminating information within an organization. When knowledge is not easily accessible within an organization, it can be incredibly costly to a business as valuable time is spent seeking out relevant information versus completing outcome-focused tasks.”
In 2022, knowledge management systems are becoming as critical to enterprise organizations as their CRM, communication or project management tools. From onboarding to sales, and marketing to IT, knowledge management tools optimize processes so employees can locate what they need quickly and easily.
These platforms also mitigate redundant costs. For instance, in a 25,000 person organization, it is not uncommon for two different teams to need similar information. With a knowledge platform in place, a worker can find out if this knowledge has already been created anywhere else in the company before executing the same work a second time.
How To Pick The Right Knowledge Management Platform Partner
1. Find Answers, Not Documents
The biggest piece of a knowledge management platform is its search functionality. The ultimate goal is easy findability of answers not documents. I want the correct slide, not the 100 page deck. Also, make sure there is flexibility in the filters so users can slice and dice the data in the way that’s most useful for them.
2. Does It Integrate Machine Learning?
The best platforms are the ones with AI and machine learning woven into the fabric of the product. Because the platform learns through user interactions, it is constantly improving and getting smarter about the unique needs of the business where it is deployed.
3. Other Systems And Platforms Integrate Seamlessly
A knowledge management system is only as good as its sources of content. Running a platform in a silo will not be effective—it needs to integrate easily with other streams of content, including all of your SharePoint sites, OneDrive, PowerBI/Tableau dashboards, or third-party licensed content.
4. Is It Easy To Manage?
Easy for users is a requirement, easy to manage is a whole other world. You can not expect people to be able to upload tens or hundreds of thousands of documents, tag them and organize them for retrieval. Much less, expect them to remember to upload every time an asset is revised or created in the future. The knowledge management system must automatically monitor connected systems and repositories and just have all additions, changes and deletions reflected in the system.
Ultimately, knowledge management extends the lifetime and value of enterprise knowledge. It makes accessing critical data easier, resulting in more informed business decisions. Harnessing that knowledge arms a business—and its employees—with the power to succeed. Unused unstructured data will only cost businesses more in the long run.