The way we work is broken and it’s been for decades. Enterprises large and small are too focused on the existing technology to solve a problem they may have never intended to solve. How do we ensure that the right people are available to provide the right answers? Someone rooted in the knowledge management (KM) space calling the industry obsolete? Truth be told, there are only of handful of enterprises that effectively utilize the knowledge base of their employees.

The businesses of yesteryear tried tying together computer storage, document management and business intelligence with connectivity solutions to provide us with places where data existed and potentially an answer to what we were looking for. These solutions were useful for their time, helping employees find policies, procedures and documented information. Prematurely labelled “knowledge management,” these solutions did offer nominal time and productivity savings, but these efforts did little to spur innovation and impact meaningful change. It was a novel approach, but there wasn’t any knowledge exchange or collaboration associated with them, they just helped determined employees find bits of information available in documents.

Meaningful decision making didn’t thrive from searching file cabinets in the 60s, floppy disks in the 70s, corporate servers in 80s, the internet in the 90s or document management tools later. Important questions were answered, and problems were solved the same way they always were. They call a colleague, ask for help during meetings or look to their LinkedIn friends. By finding the right people, sharing ideas and asking real experts questions, people look for answers from people — not from an overload of documented information.

Information Overload
Workplaces are grappling with data overload and people are spending too much time searching for answers. According to a new study commissioned on behalf of Starmind, “While most organizations have systems in place to store knowledge, these tools often fall short: 36% of knowledge workers find it hard to exchange information across different teams, while 47% say information is scattered across too many sources. Twenty five percent of respondents say there is too much raw data to sift through. Even if they do find the information they need, 26% of respondents said it is often outdated.”

In organizations with 20,000+ people, finding the colleague needed requires sifting through documentation files, emails or your entire organization's network. At this point, you have experienced information overload. At times like these, having a source to find the experts within your organization can speed the process of getting a question answered, completing a task or even staffing a scrum team for larger pressing project. A system backed by artificial intelligence (AI) enables you to gain visibility to everyone within your organization, even if they are outside of your immediate network, team or location.

Finding the right platform that supports your employees to access knowledge and tackle information overload is necessary for the modern workplace. Here are features that you should look for in a platform to help eliminate information overload:
• Find experts — Workers look for answers from people. Relieve your employees from the frustrations around finding documented information. Enabling employees to find the right people, share ideas and ask experts questions within your entire organization will boost employee productivity and experience.
• Integrate with existing tech stack — A modern platform should integrate with your existing tech stack. When connected with your existing tech stack, it can make insights from the data your organization is already creating to become even smarter. Integrations also bring your platform into your employees’ workflow for increased engagement and seamless knowledge collaboration.
• Q&A — Manages and contextualizes data, to eliminate redundant and outdated information, give more context and enable employees to find the best answer fast. Interactive Q&A allows workers to collaborate similarly to how they would in an office environment, like tapping on a colleague's shoulder and ask for help. These spontaneous interactions have vanished in the digital workplace, and this feature revives these conversations and connections again.

Today, work is different.

As today’s worker has shifted to remote or hybrid work, they are being evaluated more on performance. Working long into the night vanished as a metric for judging the performance of employees. Working 18 hours a day and being present in the office used to be considered a sign of a hard-working employee, especially in specific industries where output was more complex to measure than presence. Efficiency just played a subordinate role.

With the shift to working from home, productivity is being measured differently. In the past, inefficient processes and methods helped an employee show more presence and apparent passion for the work. In the future, it will be the very same inefficient processes that employees won’t tolerate as they steal valuable time that could be used to work on output.

Though technology has provided solutions to help conduct business faster than before, it has hindered us with information overload. It is a problem influenced greatly by technology, and it's a problem that technology can solve. When employees use technology to answer questions, document progress and share with teams, they leave an indelible footprint of knowledge that AI can tap into. Harnessing the power of those tools commonly used for work communication (email, Microsoft 365, Teams, Zoom, etc.) can help leverages employee mindpower and be a game-changer for any business.

Marc Vontobel is the co-founder and CEO at Starmind. He is a computer scientist turned serial entrepreneur with a real passion for building high tech companies, which he’s done on multiple occasions from bootstrapping through to double digit million venture capital funding rounds. He is an active member of both the Forbes Technology Council and Global Panel of the MIT Technology Review. Marc is dedicated to driving forward Starmind’s vision of making collective human intelligence accessible to everyone with the power of AI. Continually fascinated by how technology can bring people together, Marc truly believes that the scale and power of human intelligence is something that’s vastly underestimated within organizations today.

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