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Workplace integration: the ties that bind
Tuesday, 18th September 2012
Getting the right information into the right hands via the right tool is a key to empowering the enterprise. Without the right software, users are condemned to drowning in a tsunami of information and overloaded by uncontrolled data.
Workplace integration tools are essential for controlling the fire-hose of information bombarding employees.
Workflow tools accelerate the decision making process. Workflow tools allow a company to create a workflow model and components such as online forms, and then manage and enforce the consistent handling of work across the organisation chart. When these tools are good, they integrate seamlessly into day-to-day processes in a way that saves headaches and money.
Two recent FreePint product reviews stand out in fulfilling this workflow promise: Attensa’s StreamServer, which creates personalised information streams in a variety of delivery mechanisms, and Onesource’s iSell, a lead generation product that can simplify efforts to pierce the corporate veil and determine who to talk to for sales opportunities.
From my experience focusing information professionals on becoming Future Ready, I hear over and over again that information overload is a key problem. There is so much data available that users are often overwhelmed by the scale of good and bad information they must slog through. This problem is common to designers, trend researchers and scientists, who must figure out how to locate that one key report, graph, or study that reinforces their business documentation need.
But when you think about it, we really don’t have too much information – we don’t have enough of the RIGHT information. What we lack are the resources to handle all the information that we are exposed to and make sense of it. Intelligent software, along with providing our users the tools and clues to locate and identify the information they need, can help users focus their attention on important information, and help organisations utilise the knowledge that exists throughout their teams.
Once that information is gathered, it still must be shared, and that’s where workplace integration tools are starting to make serious headway. StreamServer stands out by working on an enterprise scale, allowing information professionals to manage content and delivery according to their needs. By concentrating on streams of data, users can create more focused alerts that don’t end up as deleted spam by co-workers.
iSell is geared specifically for sales teams looking to break through into a target organisation. Historically, quite a bit of time was wasted on lead generation the old-fashioned way – acquiring directories, scouring websites, and gathering business cards at conferences. iSell instead gathers names and titles from dozens of information suppliers, and integrates with software packages such as Salesforce.com to make the data widely available. Prospects receive rankings that tell how likely they are to be worthwhile. The information is readily accessible to the rest of the sales force, increasing collaboration and sharing.
The articles in this report look at the challenges and successes of workflow integration and workflow tools in organisations. The most Future Ready information professionals need to know how these modern tools work, what benefits they offer and how they integrate into a team’s processes and workflows. The flexibility of these products makes them ideal for enhancing productivity and reducing distractions.
By Cindy Romaine
Cindy Romaine is the principal of Romainiacs Intelligent Research, a consultancy focused on information intense projects, information research, needs assessment, content strategies and competitive intelligence related to business needs and sustainability. Cindy's experience includes 16 years at Nike, Inc., where she was responsible for the strategic global information resources for a world-class design community.
More articles by Cindy Romaine »