Leveraging Modern Technologies for Improving Information Productivity

Uncertainties can never be explicitly predicted or planned for, but it is crucial for companies of all sizes to understand where the dangers lie especially when it comes to information management.

Major challenges with information management and enabling technologies are:

  • Continued dominance of paper-based documentation
  • Increased regulatory compliance requirements
  • Legal liabilities from storing unwanted information, and
  • Information deluge – BYOD & convergence of other technologies.

 Role of Automation Technologies in Digitization

Despite increased automation and use of technology paper remains an essential medium for storing information in any organization.  However, extracting relevant information from the unstructured format found on paper is still challenging. Consider the statistics: active files grow at a rate of 25% per annum, an office worker spends about two hours each day searching for paperwork, a manager spends about four weeks per year searching for information on paper, large organizations lose a document every 12 seconds, and the fact it costs an average of $180 to recreate a lost document.

 Enabling technologies and solutions:

  • Technologies such as cloud, mobile, and integrated systems can improve productivity from document-driven business processes only by leveraging the latest technologies that can not only automatically read but also “understand” information from documents.
  • Enterprise Content and Document Management Systems (ECM1) that extract information from documents besides indexing them in appropriate categories for efficient information retrieval are becoming one of the most important productivity-enhancing software suite in an IT ecosystem for almost all companies, both big and small.

Note1 : The Enterprise Content Management Market is estimated to grow from USD 28.10 Billion in 2016 to USD 66.27 Billion by 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.7% .

 Challenges:

  • Technological challenges remain especially relating to extracting information from handwritten documents, converting voice data into searchable text and the like.

 Regulatory Requirements Compliance – Can We Do Away with Paper Documents?

Increased regulatory supervision has resulted in greater compliance requirements on stored data, both in physical and electronic forms. Regulators’ reliance on digital evidence while increasing, there’s still a great amount of emphasis on physical documentary evidence. Sahara and regulators in India have been in the news22 for having to manage truckloads of physical data2.

Hence organizations are striving to strike a balance between retaining physical data and also to digitize the same. The intention being reassurance that data is accessible for internal use or, if necessary, for investigative procedures.  Most countries have laws governing maintenance of records and information.

Risks associated with regulatory compliance requirements:

  • Organizations today continue to “over-store” information to be on a safer side to comply with regulatory needs
  • Existence of duplicate sets of physical or digital data (in multiple locations/devices) and associated costs
  • Significant liability exposure exists due to storing of unwanted and/or redundant data

Technological solutions & challenges:

  • Organizations using Document Management Systems (DMS) which is core to any ECM, has the ability to significantly reduce the risk of storing unwanted redundant data
  • DMS acts as a single information management tool to ensure that required data are stored and unwanted purged when appropriate to comply with regulations
  • Technologies are still evolving to aggregate data from multiple sources including emails, social media platforms, and chat conversations
  • Technological challenges still exist in eliminating redundant/duplicate data

 Managing Information Deluge & Related Challenges

Recent news31 of data security breaches at Yahoo & Drop Box and resultant loss of information once again points to the grave risk we live with in this age of advanced technologies.

Increased adoption of BYOD policies and use of mobile devices to store and process data brings a whole new dimension to data integrity and management. Organizations are looking at ways to use information in smarter ways than ever before with the advent of affordable data analytics and big-data engines.   However, this also has led to most organizations ending up having more than one technology solution and the inevitable spread of information in multiple platforms.

Smarter modern DMS solutions are being adopted by organization for its ability to aggregate information from multiple platforms. Any productivity improving solution of DMS should ensure that information contained in its repositories are properly controlled for access besides preventing any attempts to read the information bypassing security controls.

Therefore, document management solutions involving secure and intelligent technologies that are capable to handle large data from different platforms and which can optimally extract, store, analyze, use and purge when needed is the need of the hour to make information more productive for organizations big and small alike.

 About the author

Srikant Krishnan is a Chartered Accountant by profession with almost 25 years mostly with big 4 accounting firms, of which about a decade was in Europe, before coming out with the venture dMACQ in 2011.  As a co-founder of dMACQ (www.dmacq.com), Srikant has been instrumental in bringing productivity improving solutions to its MNC & Global clients with dMACQ’s digitization and technology solutions.