A newly published IDC multiclient study discusses the best practices and strategies to unlock the hidden value of information. Research from IDC shows that unstructured content accounts for 90% of all digital information. This content is locked in a variety of formats, locations, and applications made up of separate repositories. When connected and used properly, such information typically can help increase revenue, reduce costs, respond to customer needs more quickly and accurately, or bring products to market faster.
A major pharmaceutical manufacturer generated millions of dollars in new revenue by combining new research with previous research and drug studies. A global investment bank is generating significant new revenue, in part, thanks to a new knowledge management system, collecting, locating, sharing, synthesizing, and analyzing information across the globe about financial and investment topics collected from a wide variety of sources. These are just two examples from organizations I and my IDC colleague Dan Vesset interviewed as part of the research project titled "Unlocking the Hidden Value of Information".
One of our conclusions from the research is that many organizations often don't realize how much value there might be in the unstructured content in their various information sources. But those organizations that do recognize this potential are unlocking the hidden value of information and are turning it into increased revenue, improved knowledge worker productivity, and lower costs.
Both of the organizations cited above recognize and are exploiting their unstructured information, which according to IDC research, accounts for 90% of all information. This content is locked in a variety of formats, locations, and applications made up of separate repositories that don't talk to each other. Unlocking value from this content should be the goal of every organization but very few are actually getting all the value they should be. Some organizations lack the appropriate technology to so do; others lack relevant skills; yet others are simply not aware of the 'art of possible' when it comes to accessing and analyzing unstructured content.
IDC set out to identify organizations that are able to extract more value out of the information available to them. We wanted to understand what these organizations are doing better or differently than others. How are they combining new technology and processes as well as empowering staff to unlock the hidden value of information? What are the benefits that these organizations are achieving?
To find the answers to these questions, we conducted a large research study sponsored by the following organizations: Attivio, Coveo, Earley and Associates, HP, IBM, IHS, Lexalytics, Sinequa, and Smartlogic. We conducted a survey of 2,155 organizations across 6 countries and did in-depth interviews with 11 organizations in the United States and Europe. From that, we identified a set of leading organizations that have a high Knowledge Quotient (KQ).
The Knowledge Quotient is a score that we developed to identify an organization's ability to unlock the hidden value of information. As shown in Figure 1, the KQ is composed of four primary information access, analysis, and sharing capabilities.
We segmented the 2,155 organizations into two groups: those with the KQ in the 90th percentile (or about 10% of the research sample) and all others. For the purpose of this study, we called this smaller group KQ Leaders.
One of the key outcomes of our research and analysis was that these KQ Leaders were five times more likely than others to experience benefits that exceed their expectations. In other words, KQ Leaders are much more likely to unlock the value from their organization's content. Another key finding was that a typical low KQ organization employing 1,000 knowledge workers wastes over $5.7 million annually searching for but not finding information. Some of the other findings from the study include:
- 61% of knowledge workers regularly access four or more systems to get the information they need to do their jobs, and close to 15% access 11 or more systems.
- 36% of a typical knowledge worker's day is spent looking for and consolidating information spread across a variety of systems. These workers can find the information required to do their jobs only 56% of the time.
- 72% of KQ Leaders versus 25% of others cited unstructured information access and analysis initiatives as very important to their organization's revenue growth.
Best Practices of Knowledge Quotient Leaders
Most organizations need to overcome several technology and organizational challenges to become a KQ Leader. One of the challenges is the ability to measure project benefits. 63% of our sample had not quantified benefits from their information access, analysis, and sharing projects.
How can your organization increase its KQ as well as unlock the hidden value of content? The lessons learned from organizations we interviewed and surveyed suggest the following:
- Create an organizational information access and analysis strategy to tie structured and unstructured data sources together virtually.
- Implement search strategies that can effectively access siloed and legacy data sources.
- Develop and promote an organizational culture that understands and embraces the collection, use, sharing, and dissemination of information as a key asset.
- Use information handling techniques and processes such as text analytics, auto-categorization, auto-tagging, and auto-taxonomy generation to extract additional value from your unstructured information and relate it to your structured data repositories.
- Develop measures and methodologies for determining success.
Unlocking the hidden value of information can yield immediate and tangible benefits to your organization. This is more critical than ever in this era of big data. Knowledge is the lifeblood of many organizations, and increasing your organization's knowledge quotient can improve productivity, help contain costs, increase innovation, and increase revenue by leveraging the organization's most important asset, knowledge.
Additional information about the research study can be found at the sponsor's websites and by contacting the research authors: