This blog post is the continuation of  “Information – The Gold of the Digital Age Part 1”


By Martin Bartonitz

The change in the use of information is also changing collaboration between people and in companies. Although this is not something wholly new, it nevertheless contains some interesting aspects that ensure that knowledge as a raw material achieves its current value as the gold of the digital age. Aspects to which modern Enterprise Content Management must provide answers.

Improved digital collaboration means: veni, vidi, digeri

People are dealing with information more and more quickly, socially, and multi-medially. The spread of mobile devices, coupled with the nationwide availability of the Internet, has significantly changed information use. This trend will continue. In 2017 about 3,000,000,000 people (!) will use a tablet or smartphone (Forrester Research World Smartphone/Tablet Adoption Forecast 2012 to 2017). Sharing recommendations, online banking, processing business figures or browsing through a digital customer record are all possible while on the move. The semantic linking of data and new models of user interaction with systems and information will further accelerate and simplify work processes. Access to company knowledge is possible at any time – no matter where you are or where the data is stored.

Improved digital collaboration means a change in awareness

The new possibilities of information use are changing the perception of communication itself. Communication within and across hierarchical levels is becoming more tangible, faster, and more multimedia-based. Forrester Research, for example, speaks in this context of “mobile moments” or “mobile mind shift” (see video at the end of the article). Mobile moments are “points in space and time where someone [private individuals, customers, business partners, etc., editor’s note] uses a mobile device to get what they need in their immediate context.” (Forrester Research, see above)

Improved digital collaboration means a change in interaction

This change will establish new forms of collaboration and significantly accelerate coordination loops and processes. This is already clearly noticeable in professional life: texts for presentations, minutes, and notes are getting shorter and shorter. Audiovisual media are replacing the written form. The not-so-old e-mail is being replaced by modern successors that enable more flexible, faster interaction, such as short message services like WhatsApp, or video calls via Skype, Facebook, FaceTime, etc.

This change is having a major impact not only on everyday working life, but also corporate culture. That is to say, there is a new way of collaborating. Interdisciplinary working groups or teams come to the fore. These teams do not necessarily work in one place, but are distributed across locations and home offices. They depend on involving other specialists. If these specialists are not on site, they should still be able to participate virtually in decisions and processes. This means that they have access to information from the current project wherever they are in the world and wherever the information itself is located: on a desktop via laptop, on a smartphone, in a portal, as a note on the desk calendar at the other end of the world, and so on.

Improved digital collaboration means a change in processes

The new dynamic in teamwork requires an equally dynamic information network/management. A network that organizes information into structures, embeds it in the respective context, and adapts to new or changed information every second. Basically, this dynamic network is the digital business knowledge. This knowledge must be preserved and increased in order to constantly produce new and, above all, useful knowledge. And that it takes as little time as possible.

The interaction of standardized work processes and the allocation of individual work steps to specialists play an important role here. These processes require flexible and dynamic parts in order to make decisions faster, consult specialists, or inform employees. Before and after such ad-hoc parts, highly standardized and secured processes are needed to ensure the necessary data quality and data security.

Working together, informing together

Successful information management is therefore not limited to structuring and managing information in its life cycle. It (actively) promotes the sharing of information with each other and discussion between the participants. It spans virtually a company-wide/global digital project space – from topic-oriented dashboards for presenting information to alert mechanisms for changing information.

Information management thus enables easy access to processed information that is aggregated in similar views. And – equally important – it integrates mechanisms with which employees can actively inform other interested parties about changes and new information. For the knowledge workers of today and tomorrow, new technologies and an intelligent orchestration of existing technologies are needed, such as the software for Enterprise Content Management provided by OPTIMAL SYSTEMS, for example.

Mobile Moments: A Summary of the Mobile Mind Shift (Forrester Research)