Centralized data: a miraculous solution to infobesity

Jun 16 2016

Centralized data - a miraculous solution to infobesity?

It's a well known fact that innovative technologies, the web and social media are generating growth in data flows and data volume. In the past information used to be rare. But that's not the case anymore. On the contrary, today information is abundant, even overabundant. The infobesity concept illustrates perfectly this challenge: too much data can "destroy" information.

Everything is being said and a high quantity of information can become a source of malfunctions. In the business world, managing infobesity has become a key concern. How do we cope with the flow of data? How do we avoid spending too much time searching for information while still quickly finding the right data? The secret stands in the centralisation of your information!

Centralization reduces the number of data sources

We often notice that information is spread all across the company. Whether it’s stocked locally on the team members’ computers, on hard drives, in e-mails or locked in specific software, information becomes difficult to find. Research is complicated and no one knows where to search for the needed information. Moreover, this approach generates duplicates. Everyone storing information in their own way leads to finding it in different sources, for example: one time on an intranet, another time in a knowledge base. And all of this comes at a price: the cost of keeping information up-to-date, without even knowing whether the version of the document is the good one or even worst, without knowing whether it's the most recent one. 

Centralization is a pertinent solution for simplifying and limiting this overdose of information. A unique official channel is used for data communication and content is kept up to date in a single place. This simple solution means different silos and separate information storage disappear.

In order to implement the above, a search engine also needs to be put in place.

Centralization is a necessary condition, but it is not enough. 

Sort and organize your information

A careful data analysis is needed before moving all of the data in one place with the use of a specific tool. Make sure you check and sort all of the existing data and focus on quality instead of quantity. Raw information has no value. It has to be curated in order to gain value. It needs to be carefully looked at, so the most important aspects are highlighted and it needs to be made accessible, so others can build upon it. It's important to also consider the architecture of the information and have in mind how data will be connected. Categories and content metadata have to be defined. Provided the classification plan is detailed enough, content will also be easy to find.

Technology - vector and cure for infobesity

Infobesity is closely related to technological advancement and together with technology it can have a positive impact. Content can be described with the use of metadata. Search engines also work with metadata and allow filtering out irrelevant information. There are also intelligent tools that learn to adapt to their users preferences, but also information mapping tools that can illustrate large volumes of unstructured data. Social filters allow users to find the most relevant information. 

All of the above highlights the importance of choosing the right tool. An information management tool needs to respond to current and future user needs. The platform has to be continuously evolving and should offer features such as: a multi-criteria search engine, an intuitive editing interface that encourages content creation, templates for structuring content, access right management for ensuring data confidentiality, history and content versioning in order to avoid loss and keep track of updates, page sharing or other social features etc. The tool should allow both structured and unstructured data management.

Changing mentalities, adapting the corporate culture

A tool will never be enough. The secret lies in having the best tool and the best content organization, but also in having employees who are interested in using and championing the new solution. Users need to first understand the importance of the platform and then be taught how to use it.

Therefore, an upstream communication and involving the employees in the choice and configuration of the platform are highly important. Not meeting the needs of the final users or not delivering the expected value, will just lead to employees not using the tool.

Benjamin Lanciaux
Marketing Communications Manager