Drowning in unstructured data

Handling large volume of photos documents and emails can hinder any organisation's productivity and efficiency. Here are some tips to help manage your pool of unstructured data.

Whether you realise it or not, your business is probably overwhelmed with the amount of content you have to deal with every day. According to Gartner, 80 per cent of enterprise data will be classed as “unstructured content” by 2014. This includes documents, photos, images of forms and emails. Such a large volume of unstructured data can hinder the efficiency and productivity of your organisation.

With this increasing ‘content chaos’, more organisations are seeing the value in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems, as they find themselves spending substantial time, money and other resources dealing with ineffective document and workflow management.

Content management: a daily struggle

Managing content workflow across multiple tasks and processes is highly complex and time-consuming. Time spent retrieving paper documents, manually gathering information and routing content between departments and locations equates to wasted resources which could be better directed to more important tasks. The loss in productivity resulting from lengthy manual processes can have major cost implications for your organisation.

Information accuracy is often compromised and difficult to control when managing the content workflow in your businesses. On top of that, human error and incorrectly routed documents can potentially lead to serious security breaches, resulting in additional costs and affecting the bottom line.

Choosing the right ECM system for your business

ECM systems provide various benefits, but you need to be aware of what to look for, what will work best for your business and what will generate the highest returns. An ineffective, overly complex or non-integrative ECM system is unlikely to meet your expectations and may result in a higher total cost of ownership (TCO) and lower return on investment (ROI)

An effective ECM solution will provide instant, one-click access to all documents and content across any existing business application. Most importantly, the right ECM solution will deliver content in a format that is relevant, instantly accessible and usable within the specific context of your business environment.

Ensuring visible ROI across the organisation

The implementation of ECM can only reach its maximum potential when it integrates seamlessly with any of your business’s applications without the need for programming. Functionality and ease-of-use should be the priority when selecting your ECM to ensure minimal service requirements and adaptable configuration options that will suit your specific needs.

Leading ECM solution providers streamline and automate workflow processes – right from the capture of any document (from anywhere, directly from the source) and provide you with fast collaboration, high-level data protection and instant information access. Highly efficient features and effortless integration like this allow you to achieve visible ROI throughout.

With the right ECM solution, you will improve your business’ productivity through a flexible set of built-in workflow functions that complement your existing routines, while reducing time your employees spend ondocument processing. Having direct access to the correct documents at the right time will reduce the operational costs across your business.

As an example, Perceptive Software’s research shows that clients who have implemented Perceptive’s ImageNow ECM solution, have derived an estimated risk-adjusted ROI of 197 per cent in four years, with a payback period of only thirteen months. Visible savings are quantified in terms of employee savings, increased worker productivity, print and copy savings and storage space savings.

With the promise of more unstructured data clogging up our processes and stalling productivity, savvy businesses are making innovative ECM solutions a top priority and the benefits will soon be felt across the entire organisation.

Jamie Atherton is the ANZ sales manager at Perceptive Software.