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Advantages and disadvantages of an Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solution

At NEC New Zealand, we recently added a new solution to our portfolio: Enterprise Information Management (EIM). Our EIM solution is offered here in New Zealand through KMD – an NEC company.

KMD WorkZone provides an increased overview of case handling and compliance which leads to a better stakeholder, customer, and citizen experience. This is an exciting new solution for the New Zealand market, and we wanted to provide some more information about the advantages and disadvantages of implementing an EIM solution for your business.

What is Enterprise Information Management?

Enterprise Information Management refers to the optimisation, storage and processing of data created and used by an enterprise. Enterprise Information Management seeks to ensure that data, as a business asset, is managed securely through its lifecycle and that such data is accessible to the appropriate business processes.

EIM functions ensure high-quality data is available, controlled and leveraged effectively to meet the information needs of all enterprise stakeholders, in support of their goals and execution of plans, policies, standards, projects and procedures that maximise the value of information assets.

EIM provides a semantic layer implemented across the enterprise and not just for a single application or IT project. Effective EIM will result in lower operational costs, higher staff productivity, supply chain efficiency, customer service and loyalty and better decision making. It will provide valuable business insights and business intelligence for informed decision making for initiatives such as digital transformation.

You can read more about Enterprise Information Management and its purpose in our recent post.

Historical Disadvantages of EIM

Before we start to look at the advantages to businesses of implementing an EIM, we first wanted to look back at some of the historical barriers that businesses have faced when implementing an EIM. The advantages of modern-day EIM solutions will then address these issues and show how far EIM solutions have come.

Slow software implementation

In the past, adding a brand new EIM system to your company could take a significant amount of time.

It was not uncommon for some EIM implementations to take 2-3 years, depending on the scope of the software and we discuss some of the reasons why, below. This means that if you want an EIM system, you need to start planning well in advance to avoid disruptions to your work.

Otherwise, it could also mean that your EIM solution was out of date by the time the implementation was completed.

Diversity of file formats and file organisation

One of the biggest barriers to the adoption of an EIM was the way a business stored and organised files. There was often a huge diversity of file formats and different ways different departments in an organisation organised their files. Couple this with data that was stuck in legacy systems, and this caused a significant barrier to the adoption of an EIM solution. Whilst some of these issues still exist today, modern-day EIM systems like KMD WorkZone are much better at handling multiple file formats and different ways of organising files.

In addition, many large organisations had departments and functional units that operated in silos. Recognising this fact, many large businesses are moving away from a siloed approach and building stronger, more collaborative relationships between departments.

In the past, overcoming these barriers was a challenge, and in most cases, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, companies should be willing to apply best practices to their approach.

Cost

As with most new software solutions, one of the potential drawbacks to the implementation of an Enterprise Information Management solution was and still can be the cost.

EIM software usually requires some level of vendor training before you can get started. Updates to the platform may require additional training as well.

In the past, training on a new EIM system could be complex and time-consuming, leading to further costs. Poor communication across a business could also lead to the inefficient implementation of the system with people not “buying in” to the new system and therefore making it cost-inefficient.

As with most new system deployments, cost was and still is one of the biggest considerations for businesses and historically, EIM systems have been expensive to install and maintain. KMD WorkZone is tackling this issue as you will see below.

Complexity

Of course, one of the biggest advantages of EIM software has traditionally been a major disadvantage: complexity. Since EIM software is capable of so much, it can be hard for users to focus on singular tasks. Training can reduce the confusion, although for some companies all the applications offered by EIM systems can be daunting.

The complexity of EIM systems in the past may have meant that their implementation has been less successful than hoped, leading to negative feedback and a further barrier for businesses considering moving to an EIM. New cloud-based solutions, better training, and simplified design mean that today, complexity is seen as a positive, not a drawback.

Advantages of EIM

Frost and Sullivan have estimated that enterprise-level data grows at the rate of 30 to 40 per cent per year. Pause on that for a moment: This means that in 10 years, an organisation’s data will have grown between 13x and 29x that they had 10 years ago. 51x to 156x what they had 15 years ago! The ability to harness the value within this information is critical for business success. That requires an effective EIM platform.

Large organisations often have separate applications to tackle each process — data analytics, content management and business processes — but EIM software can combine them all in an integrated platform, removing information and process silos.

EIM software includes tools and capabilities to capture, integrate and manage data effectively, enabling organisations to optimise business processes and analytical insights to make better and faster critical business decisions.

Above we have seen how in the past, a number of barriers have meant that EIM systems have not necessarily had the desired impact for businesses that have looked to deploy them. This, however, is all changing. Solutions like KMD Workzone are changing the game when it comes to EIM systems and businesses should not only be considering how easy today’s EIM systems are to implement, but how beneficial it is to their business to do so.

The key benefits of today’s EIM solutions include:

Functionality

Businesses can choose how they want the functionality presented. There is a web-based client, offering the client the entire feature set, including a dashboard that can be easily customised to suit and support workflows.

Another entrance to the functionality is KMD WorkZone for Office: an interface that is seamlessly integrated and embedded into the Microsoft Office Suite.

WorkZone Mobile is a mobile solution for both online and offline use. It is a phone and tablet application that allows you to read, comment, approve or reject tasks assigned to you.

Streamline processes

KMD WorkZone comes with built-in processes for submissions and hearings.

There is a standard package with extended processes for the public sector, including the processing of requests for access to information.

A fully configurable workflow system from Microsoft is built into KMD WorkZone, which can be used by customers to digitise their specific processes.

Usability

KMD WorkZone is operated from where you already work, in Outlook, in Word, in Windows Explorer, on your mobile device or from a dedicated web client.

Improve efficiencies

KMD WorkZone provides the necessary tools for monitoring case processing times to comply with processing deadlines.

The EIM solution can save on IT operations by consolidating into a single case management system with centralised operation allowing for one point of entry to documents, cases, and shared knowledge.

KMD WorkZone allows for improved efficiency and better quality in case processing through digital process support and workflow.

Cost

We have already talked about the historical barriers to implementation and one that still exists today is cost.

Working with KMD, we are able to bring their WorkZone solution to New Zealand. Information management systems have traditionally been developed as either bespoke solutions or off-the-shelf products. Bespoke systems are expensive and take a long time to develop, often resulting in an obsolete system once it is actually implemented. On the other hand, standard products never completely fit the needs of an organization – requiring expensive workarounds. With KMD WorkZone, you get the best of both worlds.

KMD WorkZone offers the perfect balance of bespoke and off-the-shelf features that help to keep costs down without compromising the flexibility of the solution to meet all business demands.

Complexity

Complexity has been a historical barrier to the implementation of EIM solutions. Too many moving parts have caused confusion for businesses and the cost of training to negate the complexity issues has led to further cost implications.

KMD WorkZone addresses these concerns from the start. Too often digitisation starts with technology instead of user needs. KMD WorkZone represents a break with this mindset and introduces a smarter, more efficient approach to information management.

Whilst based on standard components, KMD WorkZone lets users model the solution to their exact needs –building specialised custom workflows for tasks, entities, and processes. And because KMD WorkZone is built on standard components and operated by KMD, you can rest assured that security, compliance, and governance is always on point.

Summary

Whilst historically there had been some barriers to the adoption of EIM software, modern-day solutions like KMD WorkZone tackle these barriers head-on.

KMD WorkZone is designed to improve workflows and case management in complex organisations. Both in private companies and in all levels of government; from central to local government. It would benefit those agencies who recognise:

  • A need for consolidation of bespoke IT systems with a standard case management system.
  • A wish to drive faster case processing through the use of common standard processes.
  • A need for optimising the flow of information to/from citizens.
  • A lack of usability in existing solutions and processes.

If this sound like you, don’t hesitate to get in touch today and discover how our EIM solution can improve your efficiency and workflow procedures.

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