The digital backbone

M-Files
By Chris Smith, ANZ alliance and partner manager, M-Files
Monday, 14 March, 2022


The digital backbone

Information management systems are the digital backbone of modern government organisations, delivering significant benefit over legacy enterprise content management systems, thanks to an AI layer.

At a high level, information management systems (IMS) help manage, store and access information as a collaborative single source of truth. The main purpose of an IMS is to support an organisation’s business needs by providing a platform that structures and stores data in a central, connected way.

An IMS is a modern enterprise content management system that integrates an additional layer of artificial intelligence (AI) to assist with tasks such as organising data or performing predictive analytics on large volumes of data. This puts data in context for users, removing the frustration and delays that occur when information is hard to find.

The limitations of legacy

While legacy enterprise content management (ECM) systems are still in use in many government agencies and departments, a more modern IMS can deliver significant benefits around productivity, efficiency and cost savings. Importantly, a modern IMS can operate as an integrator of various ECM systems, letting agencies leverage existing investments while futureproofing the organisation.

Many government organisations have found that legacy ECM solutions don’t fully resolve their data management issues and need to be upgraded often. This usually means new ECM systems are layered over the top of each other, creating unnecessary complexity and cost. Legacy ECM systems can be useful for a small project or data set, quickly organising and structuring group activities; however, in a modern environment, these legacy systems may limit the options to share or reuse data.

Because modern information management solutions have a superior feature set and have become the clear way forward for many government agencies and departments facing the same pain points, the ubiquity, along with inherent scalability and flexibility, has made it the more cost-effective choice for all but certain edge cases. This flexibility enables organisations to adapt quickly and grow with the changing market, adopting new feature sets and capabilities with the evolving information management platform.

The benefit of a strategic approach

Information management has recently come to the fore in light of the global pandemic and business lessons learned, which have fuelled worldwide demand for a more intentional, holistic digital transformation approach.

Strategic information management lets government departments capture, store, share, edit and analyse the business data that contributes to achieving their goals. In addition to standard documents and historical logs, IMSs are designed to pull in metadata about every interaction and event relevant to the success of a department, and trigger actions where required. Because these solutions work with a complete view of operations unavailable to any individual system in isolation, they can reveal new insights about patterns in data that previously could not be identified.

By taking a strategic approach to information management, government agencies can make better decisions and set themselves apart from those limited to an old-world view of the landscape. They can use the IMS to analyse the data and come up with creative solutions for specific problems, informed by the data.

Information management delivers significant benefits for government departments and agencies. For example, by using metadata and AI to classify information, information management systems can dramatically lower the time it takes for workers to find the information they need. Powerful search capabilities immediately surface all documents that are relevant to the user’s needs based on context. This improves time and cost efficiencies, letting workers deliver value sooner. This also frees up bandwidth up the line to IT departments, service providers and management. Productivity is increased through the continuous improvement of processes, letting attention flow from triage to innovation.

Scalable, transparent and auditable

This innovation can be seen when government agencies use an IMS to identify new technologies and methods to achieve goals at scale more efficiently. They can then explore opportunities more readily, with less need to divert resources to uplift projects. IMS platforms can be integrated with other technologies like machine learning, chatbots and natural language processing to create intelligent agents that work across platforms.

Smart information management systems can also improve transparency and create an audit trail. The risk with using many disparate or legacy systems is a lack of visibility across the whole organisation, meaning important information can slip through the cracks. Information management identifies patterns and can trigger alerts or automated actions based on business rules and bespoke requirements.

Government organisations that leverage information management solutions can deliver more reliable services. They can more easily identify efficiencies for end users and service consumers, with process and technology improvements flowing down to customer experience gains. Strategic information management helps government departments to provide better customer service by ensuring that they have all relevant and necessary information at hand when needed. This benefit cannot be overstated since customer experience is a key differentiator for government organisations. Therefore, the ability for frontline agents to answer questions and provide accurate information in a timely fashion is essential, as it contributes to exceptional customer experiences.

Information management is more than digitisation

Government agencies have used strategic information management software successfully to recognise emerging trends and enhance informed decision-making, with the aim of continuously optimising end-to-end operations. It’s a key building block at every step of the digital transformation journey for government, creating a virtuous circle of improvement across disciplines.

It’s important to note that information management is not just about digitising information, but also about making it intelligent and letting government organisations leverage it in various ways to personalise the customer experience. It is not just about capturing data, but also about how this data can be used for business purposes.

Information management is a driving force of digital transformation. It’s a strategic, systematic and automated approach to gather and organise information for decision-making. It can be easily integrated with existing government systems or deliver new, holistic, integrated systems that communicate and act, thus removing a great deal of manual work from employees.

Government organisations that invest in information management systems as part of a comprehensive information management strategy can achieve significant benefits and lower costs. By improving access to information, government departments and agencies can transform faster, deliver better services to citizens, minimise worker frustration and increase efficiencies.

With an ever-increasing reliance on data and documents, streamlining this part of an organisation’s operations goes a long way towards improving overall performance. Getting the strategy right is just the first step; aligning that strategy with the right systems is crucial. Choosing smart information management systems lets future-conscious government organisations prepare their systems and workforce for a faster-moving future in which their ability to service customers will determine their overall success.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Tierney

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