The last time you tried to find a document or a piece of content or information within a document, what was the end result? Did you miss a deadline? Remake content that already existed? Get chewed out by management?

It’s a common issue and one that we’ve all experienced, regardless of our profession. Let’s dive into the issue at hand, and why it exists in the first place.

Problem in General

This IDC Whitepaper states that within the information life cycle “the ability to find and retrieve information is paramount. It’s impossible to create knowledge from information that cannot be found or retrieved. For knowledge workers to truly fulfill their potential as catalysts in transforming information to knowledge assets, timely access to relevant information is crucial.”

The search and retrieval of existing information is absolutely critical to most organizations. Content silos, fragmented applications, distributed teams, and are impacting the profitability and efficiency of organizations while negatively impacting the employees. Furthermore, the lack of interoperability of information between applications mean workers are forced to copy & paste, reformat content, remake data sets, and perform any number of tasks related to making work presentable as opposed to getting the work done in the first place.

There’s a lot of data.

Data will grow to 40 zettabytes by 2020, resulting in a 50-fold growth from the beginning of 2010.

Most data is unstructured, making it hard to find and use.

It is estimated that more than 90% of the information created is “unstructured” information, meaning information that resides outside of databases and living within documents and other content silos. Out of all the unstructured information being created, less than 1% of it is actually ever used in a meaningful way.

There are too many places to look for information.

More than half of companies ranging from 100 to 5,000+ employees use at least three repositories for accessing documents on a weekly basis.” The bigger the company, the bigger the issue — the average enterprise uses 900 cloud applications. With a lowered cost of development and fewer barriers to entry than ever before, the marketplace has been flooded with niche products solving very specific problems — all developed in isolation from each other using proprietary formats.

The proliferation of fluid and distributed teams makes things even worse.

Working within distributed teams and collaborating with freelancers often means you are working across multiple devices and operating systems which only exacerbates the problems created by content silos. McKinsey & Company estimates almost 50% of the workforce are freelancers in some capacity and over 57 million people currently freelance.

Finding this information is critical.

76% of company executives consider information to be “mission-critical” and their company’s most important asset, but 60% also felt that time constraints and not knowing exactly how to find information are preventing their employees from finding the right information they need to get work done.

This is also adding stress to employees.

In a 2015 survey, Wrike found the number one source of stress in the workplace is missing information. 52% of the 1,400 survey respondents said they feel stress when they have to wait to receive information or can’t find the content they need to do their job.

Professor Kit Sims Taylor found that knowledge workers spend nearly two-thirds of their time searching for content and information and communicating it to others. According to Professor Sims, roughly one-third of a knowledge worker’s time is spent in reworking and recreating knowledge that already exists. Only about 10% of time is actually spent in the creation of new knowledge and content.

In RingCentral’s “From Workplace to Zen” report they found app fragmentation and content silos so bad that more than two-thirds of knowledge workers waste up to 60 minutes at work daily navigating
between applications, and 68 percent of workers toggle between apps up to 10 times an hour.

It wastes a ton of money.

According to the IDC, an enterprise employing 1,000 knowledge workers wastes at least $2.5 to $3.5 million per year searching for nonexistent information, failing to find existing information, or recreating information that can’t be found. Furthermore, the opportunity cost to the enterprise is even greater, with potential additional revenue lost exceeding $15 million annually. In the aggregate, the Fortune 1000 stands to waste at least $2.5 billion per year due to an inability to locate and retrieve information. Fortune 500 companies would lose $12 billion as a result of intellectual rework, substandard performance, and inability to find knowledge resources. IDC calls this the “Knowledge Deficit”.

Conclusion

Our business and productivity stack is being forced to evolve. Legacy vendors are competing with fast-growing and agile newcomers that are building their solutions from the ground up with a focus on mirroring the usability and familiarity of consumer applications in order to help solve these problems.

They’re making sure their platforms are integrated, accessible, and more easily adoptable by the masses — which is going to be key to solving the issues facing our knowledge workers today.

Suffering from editor fragmentation and collaboration headaches resulting from it? Love using Excel but hate Sheets? Want to put an end to your team’s friction over Office and G Suite? Join our waitlist here.