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Dude, where's my data?

Many organizations have information scattered across multiple storage folders and drives, also known as information silos. Each silo could have different methods for naming, saving, sorting and categorizing documents. Methods could vary so much, that a worker from one department cannot navigate another department's system and find the information they need.

You can imagine what that does for productivity, if employees are spending so much time just looking for the information they need to start or continue moving with a project. We'll explore it more in our next How to Cost Justify Your Social Knowledge Network Needs post.

Let's start by looking at data from a Gartner Leaders Toolkit published in 2008, entitled "What is Enterprise Content Management and What is its Value?" It shows findings from surveys that highlight the number of disparate information silos and content management solutions that companies have, on average. The results are in Fig. 1 below. (Click the image to enlarge.)

Nearly a third of the companies surveyed have 1-5 silos, and almost another third have 6-10. The impact of so many information silos is twofold:

1. Knowledge worker productivity is impacted because of the time taken to navigate multiple, disparate systems for information.

2. IT costs are higher due to the management costs associated with many different systems.

As discussed earlier, improving individual worker productivity can have a major impact on reducing an organization's operational costs. Giving knowledge workers a single access point to an organization's collective knowledge has a dramatic effect on reducing the time taken to search for and discover relevant information.

An effective social knowledge management implementation acts as this single source. Data from an organization's existing content management systems, such as project management systems, document management (DM) systems, digital asset management (DAM) systems, and so on, feed into one social knowledge management system. The system then acts as the organization's "single source of truth" for vetted and social content.

SKN Value Prop: Combining disparate data centers creates an efficient "single source of truth" to drive organizations' knowledge management initiatives.

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