Finding Information: Knowledge Worker Frustrations

Knowledge workers – a new animal in our digital economy – are workers whose most important capital is their knowledge and how they handle that knowledge. This includes knowledge of processes, data, and information. Software developers and IT architects are members of this class, as are engineers, architects, scientists, and many other professional groups.

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Many of these people spend half of their work days with documents – no joke. Unfortunately, another fact is no laughing matter as well: one fourth of these employees finds their work to be frustratingly unproductive.

Knowledge – Key Resource of the 21st Century

Looking up knowledge, summarising facts, completing analyses and reports – just a few classic tasks of the knowledge worker. These kinds of tasks make clear why documents are so immensely important to these workers. Their importance is even increasing as digitisation advances, for knowledge has long been a meaningful resource.

Nevertheless: in many companies, knowledge workers still feel unsatisfied with their working conditions. They know that the availability of information, be it at their work stations, on the go, or at home is crucial to the competitive capabilities of their employers and for their own work results. Nevertheless, they realise: only about 60 percent of the documents they need are available to them on any device and in any location. At least, this was the finding of a recent study of IT analysts by IDC.

Half of Work Day Spent Working with Documents

Imagine: Half of the work day for a normal knowledge worker is spent working with documents, according to the study. Meanwhile, workers don’t even have access to all the documents they need. This is an unwise predicament, since most knowledge workers fetch hefty salaries. The issue is not a lack of access technologies. Instead, it’s something much simpler: companies simply have not yet digitised all relevant documents.

Let that idea sit for a minute: the company has all the professional personnel it needs. They usually also have the technology required to let personnel access the data they need for their work. But the data isn’t scanned in. This is what we like to call a missed opportunity.

One can only hope companies will correct it quickly. Highly efficient scanning technologies have been around for quite some time. There is simply no reason for companies to leave their own personnel high and dry. Perhaps they’re trying to drive them away. But be honest: who would want that?

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