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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Contributed Content, Singapore
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How to prevent a 'WikiLeaks' disaster

Organisations produce a lot of content. The average office employee gets numerous emails every day including email responses, reports and other types of content. For a multinational corporation with thousands of employees, it is enough to fill server farms all over the world, particularly as you add in rich media like images and audio-video files.

However, an even greater concern belies content proliferation: finding information when you need it and sharing it with the right people. For CIOs dealing with current and future IT needs in their companies and CEOs seeking to keep their companies competitive, bringing order into content proliferation is a key concern. Enterprise content management (ECM) tools can help overcome this.

Modern companies seeking to stay competitive need a firm grasp of company content so that it can be found and shared easily; the bottom line depends on it. Indeed, IT professionals surveyed recently cite poor use of organizational knowledge as the number one danger of “continued content chaos” in their organizations.

In a recent survey by independent content management organization AIIM, more than two-thirds of the 450 respondents believed their offices would be 30 percent more efficient if employees could find internal information and documents as quickly and as easily as they find information online. And for customer-facing staff that need quick access to customer-related and case-related information, those efficiencies are even more important.

The AIIM survey sought to quantify the benefits of adopting an ECM system, particularly when compared to the alternative of letting content multiply on its own. For example, unmanaged content fills storage media and IT infrastructures to capacity.

Productivity suffers when employees tire of looking for otherwise easily accessible information. As for compliance, companies cannot answer requests for content in litigation or risk being the victims of costly or embarrassing data leaks such as a WikiLeaks event. As CFOs prepare for the next fiscal year’s budgets, they need to consider the ramifications of failing to address these issues.

Innovation thrives on employees and teams working effortlessly together and being able to form into effective project teams quickly on an ad hoc basis as market conditions change. Emerging social platforms – linked into the ECM system – let employees establish cross-functional teams organically work anywhere they are through their laptops and smartphones. This breaks down barriers and creates the kind of collaborative culture companies need to survive and prosper.

All contemporary companies need both good collaboration and compliance. Compliance regulations are complex legal realities that affect companies operating internationally in various ways. Failing to build in systems for managing documents for discovery can be costly.

Overall, an ECM system with social collaboration tools has the potential for vastly changing a corporation’s landscape. The enhanced ability to share information through company-wide social networks, blogs and wikis creates a knowledge culture in which ideas, not administrative titles, have sway. Everyone can post to a forum; it doesn’t matter if you’re a VP or a manager. What matters is what you have to say.

Employees, use various social media tools - blogs, forums, communities and profiles, to unite and collaborate. Firms must develop a platform that connect everyone and become a source of sustaining ideas and expertise that will pay off for years to come.

CIOs need to examine their own content management systems if they want to maintain innovation and be competitive.

Studies have shown that innovation rates increase by up to 20 percent when employees have access to social tools as part of an overall ECM strategy in their companies.

It is clear that content will continue to proliferate, but enterprises that implement a broad-ranging ECM system coupled with integrated Web 2.0 tools, will not only control ever-expanding content, but will be rewarded in even greater ways into the future. 

James Latham, Chief Marketing Officer, OpenText

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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