Global businesses have metamorphosed over past 15 months. Remote working has become the norm and non-in-person meetings have been accepted as part of business as usual. Organizations are at a crossroads today because they are in urgent need to transform their businesses and adapt to the ‘new normal’. Digital transformation initiatives have exploded, as enterprises have realized that there is no alternative, besides improving their digital capabilities to compete better in the marketplace.
At the heart of every digital transformation is data, and the art of managing it efficiently and securely is the challenge.Every new digital initiative produces data, and as the number of initiatives increase, the amount of data produced, consumed, and stored also increases proportionately.
To understand the huge amount of data generated, let us take a look at some statistics published by the research firm, IDC, in its annual DataSphere forecast. The forecast measures the amount of data created, consumed and stored in the world every year. IDC notes that the amount of data created and replicated experienced unusually high growth in 2020 due to the dramatic increase in the number of people working, learning, and entertaining themselves from home.
IDC reports that in 2020, 64.2 ZB of data was created or replicated, and predicts that the amount of digital data created over the next five years will be greater than twice the amount of data created since the advent of digital storage.
Information is undoubtedly the new oil that will keep organizations moving in future, and given the avalanche of content generated, information management is extremely critical. Enterprise Information Management (EIM) is defined as a set of technologies, processes, disciplines and practices used to manage an organization’s data and content as an enterprise asset.
As data is the lifeblood of every business, the ability to use that information is critical for competitive advantage. At the heart of every digital transformation initiative is accurate and up-to-date information. Without this, decision-making cannot be optimized. Knowledge workers also need the right information to work efficiently. Everything is related to business analytics.
In the current remote work scenario,people are producing huge amounts of information, which can be structured and unstructured. While structured data can be analyzed using traditional tools, the real intelligence is buried deep in unstructured data which can be in e-mails, chats, invoices or voice messages. Most companies do not have effective solutions to analyze unstructured information. This is a big barrier to productivity, as it means that this knowledge cannot be analyzed and used for competitive advantage.
Additionally, as data sources are widely dispersed, there is an inability to use information effectively. A cloud-based content management solution can be extremely effective, as customized solutions can be quickly implemented and content from different data sources can be aggregated and analyzed for business intelligence and optimized decision-making.
The role of automation
Wherever possible, automated solutions must be used to reduce or eliminate human errors. By using AI-based solutions, organizations can analyze and classify large amounts of data quickly.
NLP (Natural Language Processing) today is used for extracting the real context of an e-mail, social media post or a chat. Similarly, speech to text conversion technologies can be used to convert audio into text, which makes it possible to convert unstructured data into structured data and analyze it in a more efficient way. AI can classify documents automatically, and make it available for knowledge workers, enabling them to make faster decisions.
Enterprise Information Management solutions help enterprises engage better with all stakeholders, by enabling data-driven workflows. This helps enterprises advance innovation and business performance as they have better insights into data.
With so much information at their disposal, many enterprises have to spend more time, resources, and skilled staff wrangling with the data. Overwhelmed, most business processes today are static — and they rely on ineffective or irrelevant information and/or on data that quickly becomes obsolete.
To become truly data-centric, organizations must take a new approach to information integration and management. This includes taking an open approach to collaboration, with information exchanged seamlessly, instead of being in silos.
With remote work here to stay, albeit as part of a new hybrid work model, enterprises have to ensure that their information management strategy is aligned completely to a digital workplace, where employees work from anywhere. It is also equally important to use automation principles wherever possible, so that enterprises can improve efficiencies, but at a relatively lower cost – a must need in these trying times.
The power of information management in action
To understand how an enterprise information management solution can really deliver significant benefits and power digital transformation initiatives, let us take a look at what Tata Power-Delhi Distribution Ltd. (Tata Power-DDL)achieved. The company is a joint venture between Tata Power and Delhi’s state government.
When the pandemic struck, approximately 70% of its employees shifted to remote work. The company needed to ensure employees, customers, regulators and external stakeholders retained access to mission-critical content and business processes.
With an enterprise information management solution, the company was able to keep critical users connected and working to provide power to different stakeholders, which included hospitals and essential utilities like water supply and pharmacies and laboratories. Using the enterprise information management solution, the company created workflows, which was provided to internal and external stakeholders.
Leveraging the enterprise information management solution’s ability to integrate with key business applications, the company was also able to help customers by implementing digital self-service payment options so they could easily view and pay their bills on time via the web, SMS and apps. The result was a dramatic and lasting increase in electronic payments via mobile channels. Digital payments increased from 61% to nearly 96% during the pandemic and remained at 89% since. This is just one example of the importance of information management to the digital transformation efforts of enterprises.
Today, enterprises are deluged with information. While this brings challenges, it also brings in huge opportunities. With enterprise information management systems, there is scope to reinvent the way information is consumed, presented or analyzed. If this is done using the right technology, then enterprises can deliver highly personalized experiences and empower employees to take quick and effective decisions. The time has come when businesses need to reimagine information management!
(The author Manish Dangwal is Country Manager, Sales, OpenText and the views expressed in the article are his own)