We know that information is outstripping our ability to consume it—a problem that costs the world nearly one trillion dollars a year. In this new world of work, information is only truly useful if workers can find and act on it.

We also know that technology can significantly help us find and act on otherwise overwhelming information volumes, dramatically improving our collective performance in business and in life.
What we haven’t had until now is a clear conceptual framework around the challenge, the desired solution state and the specific benefits that various technologies contribute toward the solution. We believe this framework should be built around the concept of information mobility.

Information mobility is the ability to move information throughout an organization, regardless of whether that format is paper or digital. It’s also the ability to transform that information—to repurpose or reuse it or search for it in any format. Ultimately, it means having access to the relevant data one needs anytime, anywhere, in any format to drive better business outcomes.

Ricoh recently commissioned IDC to explore the impact and business benefits of information mobility transformation, and we’ve now completed the first phase of what will be a four-part research effort. It has already yielded some incisive findings. The new, until-now-unpublished research reveals specific dollar figures associated with information mobility.

The first phase of IDC’s research included in-depth, qualitative interviews with 12 companies considered at a high level of information mobility maturity. These organizations represented a variety of industries—healthcare, financial services, government, manufacturing, energy, technology and transportation—and had an average of 17,275 employees.

IDC asked detailed questions about the value these businesses experienced as a result of implementing several of these initiatives.

“The big finding for IDC,” according to Angèle Boyd, Group VP, General Manager, Imaging/Output Documents Solutions & SMB, “was that companies that embrace information mobility can earn, on average, $7,210 more in revenue per employee. They can also realize $16,027 per employee in increased productivity and experience a net productivity increase of 28% on average. Companies with the highest information mobility maturity enjoy annual benefits of $40,000 per employee, with the average being $24,000.”

What were information mobility’s killer apps?
  • Enabling tablets/smartphones had the greatest impact on user productivity.
  • Search contributed most to increasing revenue.
  • Self-service portals contributed most to lowering operational costs.
Technology alone, however, is not the silver bullet in achieving information mobility. It’s definitely part of the solution but not the whole solution.

To really achieve information mobility, organizations must look deeply at their information flows and the ways their employees work. The technology must not only be capable of aligning with those workflows and work styles, but it should support or drive innovations in those areas.

Ultimately, companies that recognize the relationship between effective information management, work style innovation and the technologies supporting it have the best chance to experience what could be called “information mobility nirvana.”

The research also dives deeper into the benefits of information mobility. In addition to higher revenue and productivity, companies are seeing higher customer counts, decreased customer churn and lower overhead costs.

So, the takeaway is if you have information management challenges, don’t simply apply technologies to specific problems. Adopt a vision for a bigger information mobility strategy, tackle your challenge holistically and gain all the now-documented benefits that come with it.

Tim Vellek is senior vice president of marketing at Ricoh Americas Corporation. Follow Ricoh on Twitter @RicohTweets.

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