Antti Nivala is Founder and CEO of M-Files, the intelligent information management company that enables a smarter way to work.
The information businesses have in their possession is more than just a collection of files sitting on a server or in the cloud—it’s the lifeline that provides the context and insight to achieve business goals and drive industries forward.
There is no shortage of information, as the amount of data that organizations generate, process and collect from myriad data sources has grown exponentially since the onset of the pandemic. However, data on its own is just that—data. It is unorganized statements and facts, but nothing more. No insights into trends, no understanding of customer preferences. Nothing.
Information, on the other hand, is an aggregation of facts that provides the gateway to knowledge, piecing together chunks of data to tell stories, share insights and discover preferences. The challenge lies in the fact that while every organization has data, not every organization is able to harness knowledge from their data in a coherent, effective manner.
The 2020 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey found that 75% of respondents noted “creating and preserving knowledge” as important for their success over the next 12 to 18 months, yet only 9% of respondents claimed they are ready to do so. Information is the foundation of an organization’s success, and enabling employees to pull knowledge from that information is imperative to achieving continuous innovation, delivering projects more effectively and scaling the business.
Unlocking Knowledge In Your Information
An organization’s intellectual capital and accumulated experiences are one of its greatest assets, yet it is often trapped in the minds of dispersed, hybrid workforces or buried in data repositories. Within that information lies the context and insight to understand customer preferences, better predict where the industry is heading and make more informed business judgments.
So, how do we unlock the knowledge within? Here are a few best practices I’ve learned along the way.
Establish Knowledge-Sharing Strategies
To harness knowledge from your information, organizations must first establish processes and practices to facilitate knowledge sharing. Much of the knowledge an organization generates is based on collaboration among its people, whether it’s co-creation between colleagues or exchanges between vendors and customers. Harvesting the learnings that result from those everyday exchanges is key to capturing knowledge.
To establish a best practice for the collection of knowledge from everyday exchanges, organizations can turn to tools to institutionalize knowledge capture in a way that’s easy to re-use. Tools can include templates or checklists that can be leveraged for similar work, search capabilities to find relevant content or people with expertise or experience on the topic, or even facilitating team, department or business-level retrospective sessions for documenting and sharing lessons learned.
Turn To The Power Of AI
There is a lot of valuable information that gets lost in email inboxes, Slack channels and disorganized network shares. AI and discovery solutions can help unlock information hidden in those repositories and bring it front and center. Organizations should turn to solutions with pervasive AI and automated rules-based discovery engines, as those tools can automatically crawl large volumes of data, including business-critical records and dark data, to identify content and pull knowledge from within.
If data is siloed or too hard to find, employees end up working and making decisions based on an incomplete set of information. Turning to AI can help ensure employees can always find the information and knowledge they need, when they need it, to maximize the percentage of work that drives revenue.
Foster A Collaborative Environment
Much of the knowledge in an organization lives within its people. Successful projects are oftentimes the result of the hard work of countless people, all working in tandem with one another to contribute something more effective than they could as individuals. Therefore, it is imperative for organizations to create a collaborative, open environment where employees feel empowered to share ideas. As organizations begin the shift, rewarding employees for collaborative performances through team shoutouts or within employee reviews can be a huge driver for change.
Another important element for collaborative environments is trust and transparency. Organizations should help employees feel empowered to speak freely, share ideas and voice concerns. When everyone feels valued and like a member of the same team, that’s when true collaboration begins.
Knowledge is power. When employees spend less time searching for the insights they need, they have more time to dedicate to value-adding initiatives and delivering better customer experiences. As the business landscape continues to evolve, harnessing knowledge from within is becoming a “must-do” as opposed to a “nice-to-do,” and turning to knowledge-sharing strategies, artificial intelligence and collaborative environments can help us get there.
Have you unlocked the knowledge in your information?