02.08.2022 | News Information silos are annoying
After more than 30 years with PCs in the workplace, employees have little understanding for poorly functioning IT systems. They detest interrupted workflows because they need to laboriously transfer data from one system to another, or applications that take forever to load or respond because of long latencies. Especially since cloud tools, mobile apps in the private sphere and, not least, work in the home office demonstrated how well IT can actually support smooth transitions.
The aversion to bumpy IT systems is particularly high among digital natives, who make up an increasingly large share of corporate workforces. When it comes to digital tools, they're used to nothing but a "seamless experience" from the beginning. In their private lives, they transfer an appointment they made on their doctor's website to their smartphone calendar with a finger tap, pay online purchases directly in the vicinity of the store via digital payment, or quickly send a video they just recorded to a friend via WhatsApp. Why, they rightly wonder, should this be different at work?
Of course, companies know all this and therefore work hard to provide their employees with seamless IT systems. One area that often still falls short is the provision of information. Contracts, invoices, applications, quotes, reports, presentations, emails, videos, social media posts: virtually all companies today face huge and ever-increasing mountains of documents and information spread across a wide variety of systems and storage locations - from internal databases, file systems, ERP systems, corporate portals or wikis to file-sharing services in the cloud.
These silos make it difficult for employees to find the information they need to perform their jobs. Often, they don't even know where to begin their search. This stops them, robs them of time and prevents them from doing their actual, value-creating tasks. In the worst case, they are even forced to reinvent the wheel. They create a customer presentation from scratch, only to discover by chance shortly afterwards that a colleague has already prepared a presentation on a similar topic.
Relief can come from a field that companies may not even have on their screen because they underestimate it: enterprise search systems. Many companies still associate these systems with mere full-text search. However, high-end solutions that act as a central infrastructure for seamless information delivery have long been available. They not only make it possible to integrate a wide variety of sources. They also bring advanced text analysis, master artificial intelligence methods, link information with semantic models or graph databases, and automatically enrich data with metadata.
These technologies enable modern enterprise search software to efficiently search all existing sources in the shortest possible time and to tailor the search mechanisms to the individual requirements of people or departments. In intelligent dashboards, they bring together all information that is relevant for employees to do their current tasks and present it in a clear and thus quickly usable manner. Mindless, annoying and all too often unsuccessful searches are a thing of the past. This pleases digital natives just as much as the old hands, and - last but not least the executives. Because increased search efficiency, faster response times, and increased access to the company's knowledge treasure are tangible competitive advantages.