Future of work

How to accelerate knowledge discovery

Finding knowledge in the workplace can take up to a quarter of a person's day. Learn why this happens and how can you can adapt to ensure you don't lose so much time.

Ivor Colson

Finding workplace knowledge is a pain for teams. In 2012, McKinsey reported that workers spend 9.3 hours per week, on average, searching and gathering information. Almost a decade on and the problem is still very much present, if not worse.

According to early results in our ongoing survey, over 77% of teams and individuals find it incredibly painful to find workplace information. You can check out the results in our ebook on hybrid work. A staggering statistic that has big implications on the development of teams and overall productivity.

So what causes this slow discovery of workplace knowledge, and what can you do about it?

Why is discovering workplace knowledge difficult?

From our conversations with multiple industries combined with secondary research, we’ve boiled it down to three very noticeable and ever-growing reasons:

Huge increase of data

Companies create and manage (or don’t) more data than ever, with IDC saying this doubles every four years. With this comes difficulties, as companies are unable to create value from their data due to the sheer amount they produce.

Particularly as companies grow and add more and more applications to their technology stack, managing data becomes tremendously difficult and increasingly complex. Making sound business decisions backed up by data is incredibly difficult. The companies that don’t get a good grasp on their data lose a competitive edge to those that do.

Rise of fragmented SaaS

The SaaS industry is growing fast, at 30% per year. Yet many of these SaaS applications do not truly integrate or connect with one another. For example, you can’t simply run one search query across all of your favourite applications.

Finding that insight you recall from the other day is hard across disparate applications and interrupts your working day. Now multiply that across your whole team. Knowledge discovery is a real pain as individuals have to search within each application individually, if they bother attempting at all.

Hybrid working

Companies today can’t simply hope that teams and individuals will pick up information by office-osmosis, instead they are more and more reliant on technology to act as conduits of knowledge. Of course, this can be done the ‘old-school’ way: by picking up the phone or writing an email, but there are obvious limitations in terms of efficiency and general clunkiness.

In 2020, we saw a massive trend and normalisation of video conferencing tools, a technology that has been around for almost a decade. In the next number of years we will see that trend continue as many companies will learn their technology is still not appropriately set up to help them thrive in a hybrid-work environment.

How can you improve the accessibility of workplace knowledge?

Now we know the problems with knowledge discovery, what can be done?

Unify knowledge sources

Information and knowledge is what makes companies succeed: greater access to it means decisions can be made faster and with greater confidence and clarity. Yet, information is stored across many applications, creating data silos. For companies to gain value from the data they create, the first step is to create a single source of truth via a centralised data point.

Ensuring this data point has regular and continuous information ingestions ensures the data is up-to-date and is reliable. You can create a central data lake, and allow your engineers to build omni-applications unique to your business. By unifying knowledge sources, you can get clear answers to complex questions, fast.

Democratise workplace knowledge

It’s one thing centralising information into one place, but quite another locating that information-needle in the digital haystack. Information and knowledge needs to be instantly searchable for workplace teams. Just as search engines are responsible for the beginning of almost every consumer's web journey, having a similar tool for the workplace would prove instrumental in the democratisation of workplace knowledge.

However, that search needs to be fast and effective. It needs to go further than just a simple keyword and provide natural language queries, personalised features, relevance ranking and so on. With an effective search, individuals can firstly save time, workplace knowledge can be democratised, and employees can become more knowledgeable through the greater accessibility of information. Through search, teams reap the benefits of improved productivity.

Prepare for the future of work

As workplaces prepare for the new normal, hybrid-work will become more and more prevalent. Just this week, the BBC reported there will be no full-time return to the office for over a million. It gives teams more flexibility to get work done when they’re most productive. Some people work better in the morning while others in the afternoon. Some can perform better when working remotely, some not.

As the pandemic of 2020 showed, many companies were not ready for 100% remote work in terms of their technology stacks, and the demand for conference tools suddenly skyrocketed. As lockdown restrictions will inevitably (hopefully soon) ease, hybrid working will come to the fore. Companies and teams alike will need the  technology to enable them to be most productive and effective in this environment.

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About Omnifia

Omnifia is an AI-powered productivity tool that allows companies to bring together all of their disconnected applications, enabling them to quickly discover workplace knowledge. Workplace knowledge is ingested every second, enabling teams to learn quickly through a cross-company search and personalised knowledge-dashboard. Companies can supercharge knowledge discovery and drive productivity through accelerated knowledge transfer.