Information Management as table stakes in Digital Transformation
Data is no longer only in structured form. Research shows that Unstructured data is growing at the rate of 62% per year. And by 2022, 93% of all data in the digital universe will be unstructured and 90% is produced in the last 2 years alone. Of these unthinkable vast stores, only 0.5%is effectively analyzed and used today. Automating unstructured content and workflows in business processes is therefore critical for the survival of businesses. Most organizations are already on some digital transformation journey. Even though enterprises proclaim that spends on digital transformation initiatives has increased, as per recent research, close to 34% of organizations have reported that most of their business content is still referenced and filed as paper. Only one of three have digitized or automated accounts payable, accounts receivable or vendor management processes. 65% of enterprises still use paper for orders, booking forms, contracts and such other documentation.
In general, digital transformation should be thought of as a journey rather than a specific project. Along this journey there are specific milestones that serve as a guidance in terms of the progress that has been made and what kind of goals have been met in the process. Several enterprises prefer to focus on their operational processes in their digital journey, eliminating chaotic environments by implementing new systems, processes and enabling mobile access. The way in which enterprises manage their information, often called information management practices is often the area of focus given that visibility and governance to information is crucial to bring down the cycle time to process, reduce costs and risks. Searching and finding content when needed, by the right user in a secure environment is easier said that done. This means that enterprises must continually look to eliminate ROT (Redundant, Outdated, Trivial) content that in fact increases process complexity and hampers compliance. Securing content and controlling access is non-negotiable in enterprises, and therefore must have a fair share of attention when enterprises think digital. For instance, enterprises typically use email for approvals and collaboration. The number of attachments only keep growing, bringing with it administration issues. Findability of information is always a challenge even during an audit. The entire lifecycle of information right from creation to archiving and safe disposition and everything in between must be governed and executed in a way that enables enterprises to truly deliver process agility.
Managing unstructured content requires different approaches, priorities, and capabilities than the traditional approaches to managing structured data. The goals of unstructured content management is to prioritize visibility and accessibility to unstructured content, to then derive maximum actionable insights that will support in significantly improving enterprise performance. This is a key lever for enterprises to bring down ROT (redundant, obsolete and trivial) within processes and hence drive cost take-outs.
IT Priorities of structured data to unstructured data is different and organisation needs to use a different approach to tackle them
Enterprises are perhaps continuing to invest to manage yesterday’s structured data goals of performance, security, capacity management and data protection. Yet, they struggle with today’s unstructured content goals of data insight, governance and automation possibilities. For a data-centric organization, failure to manage their unstructured content could be costly and affect their revenues.
With the convergence of various technologies driving automation, forward-thinking organizations are implementing information management solutions linked with AI Chatbot, RPA, and other Machine learning solutions to transform processes. Right from having complete visibility to the content within processes to collaboration, workflows, search and retrieval to archiving and safe disposition, they are putting in place a set of processes, tools and methodologies that help them drive process agility and governance. Information Management applications are specifically being designed to function on mobile devices using their operating systems and interfacing with business processes and internal applications.
The workforce of today needs access to information on any device at any time, needs to work collaboratively and interact with each other seamlessly. The digital transformation journey is not only about technology but also processes, people and business rules. Therefore, cross-functional teams must come together and identify initiatives that look at the whole picture and not just an abstract. Information Management is the lifeblood and foundation to digital. Unstructured content lifecycle automation is the underlying pillar to automate business processes and create a truly paperless environment where risks, governance and process agility is taken care of. As Stephen Hawking says, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”. Enterprises need to adapt themselves to the new ways of working, leveraging emerging technologies to create a better future. In a digital world, enterprises can no longer afford to work in silos, where each function performs its tasks and considers it done. Future looking enterprises are looking to quickly integrate the various silos, leverage multiple parts of the organization to collaborate to deliver a compelling performance.