Digital Transformation Threatened by a Rising Tide of Information Chaos
John Mancini

By: John Mancini on April 25th, 2018

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Digital Transformation Threatened by a Rising Tide of Information Chaos

Digital Transformation

AIIM believes that information is the currency that fuels an organization. As such, it is an organization’s most important asset. But at the very time that information assets are increasingly important, our ability to manage them is eroding. This is due to the exploding volumes, variety, complexity, and velocity of information coming into our organizations. Addressing “Big Content” and the rising tides of information chaos is a prerequisite to solving the Digital Transformation puzzle.

At best, organizations have been able to keep pace with this rising tide; at worst, they are falling behind and putting their long-term survival at risk. Despite rapidly improving technology tools, organizations are realizing that information is coming into their organizations more quickly than it can be intelligently managed, and they are quickly realizing that something needs to change -- and that something is not just technology.

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The core instability of Information Management practices.

Data in the new AIIM survey reinforces the conclusion that information chaos is rising. Despite major improvements in information management capabilities over the past ten years, organizations have only marginally kept pace with the new wave of “Big Content” challenges. The average number of content systems in use continues to rise; the average number of systems has grown by nearly 30% over the past five years. While most organizations continue to increase the number of content systems they use, a rising portion of critical business content (now 54%) remains OUTSIDE those content management systems. Progress is being made when it comes to managing specific types of information – except when it comes to scanned documents; perhaps a reflection of growing multi-channel challenges.

Information Growth vs. Capability Improvements

It is growing increasingly clear that traditional approaches to information management will not be sufficient to address this rising tide of information chaos, putting Digital Transformation initiatives in great peril.

Organizations need to do so much more than just capture documents and information; they need to ingest and understand the information of ALL sorts as early as possible into business processes and standardize and automate these processes. They need to extract insight from this exploding volume of information and prepare for the era of machine processing and artificial intelligence. They need to develop policies and automated processes to dispose of information without business value. They need to take as much of the human element as possible out of governance by first converting everything to digital form (i.e., tackling the paper problem head-on) and then by applying semantic and auto-classification technologies. And lastly, they need the flexibility to do all of this on-premises, in the cloud, or in whatever combination they choose.

Legacy content management technologies were remarkably successful in automating the first tier of information challenges – automating mission-critical, document-intensive, large scale processes. This set of capabilities came to be known as Enterprise Content Management, or ECM. As the nature of the challenge has changed, we first tried to adapt these legacy approaches to a new set of problems. By and large, that hasn’t worked, creating a need to adopt new ways of thinking about how to manage the information and content at the heart of our business processes.


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About John Mancini

John Mancini is the President of Content Results, LLC and the Past President of AIIM. He is a well-known author, speaker, and advisor on information management, digital transformation and intelligent automation. John is a frequent keynote speaker and author of more than 30 eBooks on a variety of topics. He can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as jmancini77. Recent keynote topics include: The Stairway to Digital Transformation Navigating Disruptive Waters — 4 Things You Need to Know to Build Your Digital Transformation Strategy Getting Ahead of the Digital Transformation Curve Viewing Information Management Through a New Lens Digital Disruption: 6 Strategies to Avoid Being “Blockbustered” Specialties: Keynote speaker and writer on AI, RPA, intelligent Information Management, Intelligent Automation and Digital Transformation. Consensus-building with Boards to create strategic focus, action, and accountability. Extensive public speaking and public relations work Conversant and experienced in major technology issues and trends. Expert on inbound and content marketing, particularly in an association environment and on the Hubspot platform. John is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the College of William and Mary, and holds an M.A. in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.