The common organisational challenge: searching for documents

New research commissioned by M-Files Corporation, a provider of solutions that improve how organisations manage documents and other information, has revealed that an overwhelming 95% of UK-based organisations face some sort of challenge when trying to find, access and edit documents and information in the workplace.

In the survey carried out by Vanson Bourne that polled 250 IT decision-makers across a variety of private and public sector organisations, the findings identified some significant challenges facing employees when trying to manage documents in the workplace.

The survey revealed that 63% of respondents said that they find it challenging to find information in the workplace at least some of the time, and 95% faced some sort of difficulty accessing and managing information. This derails productivity.

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This problem is compounded, as 64% stated that documents are often saved in the incorrect folders or systems, while half of workers cited issues with ‘version creep’ – multiple versions of documents saved in different places.

Four in ten encounter issues with documents being named incorrectly, and 29% reported problems with accessing documents from different devices.

This document mismanagement lead to 63% of respondents revealing that they had to recreate documents that already existed because they were unable to find them. This is something that the public sector is especially guilty of, with 71% of public sector respondents having had to recreate documents; a significant waste of taxpayers’ money.

For Julian Cook, director of UK Business at M-Files, the results demonstrate that UK-based organisations continue to struggle with content chaos, with productivity suffering as a result.

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“The fact that the vast majority of businesses experience some degree of difficulty in finding and managing documents speaks to the need for a better approach for managing business-critical information assets. Organisations of all sizes are struggling to manage ever-increasing amounts of content, which is not only leading to a frustrating and time-consuming experience for employees, but it also affects the ability to serve customers effectively.”

The survey also revealed that 90% of remote workers find it at least somewhat challenging to find documents when working outside of the office.

Cook added: “There’s a growing trend towards mobile, remote and flexible working, which are key to unlocking a broad range of organisational benefits, from improved productivity to higher rates of employee satisfaction. However, to realise these benefits, organisations need to ensure that employees have the same easy access to documents when they’re out of the office as they enjoy when at their desks.”

“Unfortunately, this research demonstrates that the vast majority of organisations just aren’t providing employees the tools they need to do their jobs effectively when they’re on the move. Companies need to focus heavily on providing the right tools to make flexible and remote working straightforward for everyone.”

>See also: UK workers more willing to secure documents at home than at work

To help remedy these problems both for office-based and remote workers, Cook believes that organisations need to think more deeply about how ECM solutions can be leveraged to make the management of information much more efficient, especially with the UK being well behind the rest of the G7 nations in terms of productivity.

Cook continued: “With the country facing a productivity deficit, UK-based organisations need to think carefully about how they can work smarter, starting with how they manage their information and documents. ECM solutions can be extremely powerful tools for eliminating the content chaos that plagues so many UK businesses.”

“When an organisation implements a flexible, powerful and simple to use ECM solution, employees are no longer wasting time searching for documents that would otherwise be hidden amongst a maze of network folders or other business applications,” he concluded.


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...