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Digital Transformation Threatened by a Rising Tide of Information Chaos

Apr 25, 2018 2:50:21 PM by John F. Mancini

This is the third article in a series; the other two are:

Surviving Disruption -- Strategies for the Era of AI and Machine Learning

Looking at Information Management Through a Different Lens

Digital Transformation effectiveness is imperiled by a rising tide of information chaos and confusion.

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 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.

Screenshot 2018-04-25 14.45.42

Data in the new AIIM survey reinforces the conclusion that information chaos is rising. Despite major improvements in information management capabilities over the past 10 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 5 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.

Screenshot 2018-04-25 14.39.20

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 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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You might be interested in our new Industry Watch report -- Getting Ahead of the Digital Transformation Curve -- free through May 12.

digital transformation

Topics: information chaos, content mangement, intelligent information management

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