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PERFORMANCE

MATTERS VOL2|ISSUEONE|WINTER2008

Solutions That Perform

Information Overload HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

FROM DR. DEUTSCH

Taming the Information Tidal Wave

INFORMATION OVERLOAD

Problem or Opportunity? CREATING VALUE

Integration of Content Management and CRM i


Inside

VOL2|ISSUEONE|WINTER2008

PERFORMANCE

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR From the moment you wake in the morning you are inundated with data. It begins with CNN, morning radio or the newspaper and continues at work through email, the Internet and a variety of reports and meetings. With so much to consider, how do you use the data to help you prioritize and make decisions? At RWD we recently celebrated 20 years of helping organizations manage the plethora of data into useful information that improves performance at work.

1 Message from

2 Information Overload: 6 Primary Causes Once you can find the cause, you can find the solution.

Have fun! SUE VARNER | EDITOR KAYLA HARTFORD | ASSOCIATE EDITOR Corporate Marketing & Communications

3 Did You Know?

For questions and additional information on the content of this newsletter contact Sue Varner at 1.800.677.3688 or svarner@rwd.com. Copyright ©2008 RWD Technologies, LLC. All rights reserved.

Taming the Information Tidal Wave

I

nformation used to be a relatively scarce resource. It took some effort to get at it, and usually the results had real value. Think of those old trips to the library... hiring researchers...hunting through paper records...costly subscriptions. Now, of course, we’re drowning in information—90 percent of it scattered and unorganized. And it just keeps growing and growing. This

1

5

Dr. Robert W. Deutsch Taming the information tidal wave.

This issue, focused on information overload, is not meant to overload you with information! It provides effective solutions for managing information in all aspects of your life.

A MESSAGE FROM

MATTERS

The amount of information out there today is truly vast—

7

9

challenge yourself with facts and trivia!

9 Going Beyond the Content

5 Information Overload:

New systems help you manage your information explosion.

Problem or Opportunity It’s a fact of life, why not make it work to your advantage?

7 Creating Value Through the Integration of Content Management and CRM Find your way through the “content wilderness.”

Management System

10 RWD to Help Clients Realize the Full Potential of Documentum The Documentum line of products was developed with customization in mind—right out of the box.

Dr. Robert W. Deutsch is a huge challenge for any enterprise. In my opinion, one of the most exciting things we’re doing at RWD is helping our clients tame this information tidal wave—especially as it pertains to internal data and content. Not only are they overwhelmed by information from the outside, but self-generated data and content as well. That’s at the heart of this new issue of Performance Matters. Headlining RWD’s efforts is the infoMaestroTM Enterprise Content Management Solution. InfoMaestro is based on our

expertise in certain key areas: Process mapping; system integration; XML and CRM; content management; and dynamic publishing. With this powerful toolkit, we’re providing our clients with holistic, enterprise-wide solutions to information overload. We can assure better authoring, better management and better distribution of information. And that’s not all. We also work with EMC’s highly regarded Documentum product—to give our clients’ finance departments far greater control and usability of their procurement and accounts payable information. You can learn more about the RWD/Documentum solution

in this issue of Performance Matters. For two decades we’ve made our name at RWD by helping clients gain competitive advantage through performance improvement. Now it’s time for us to give them an additional edge—by harnessing the full power of their information assets. DR. ROBERT W. DEUTSCH | CHAIRMAN


6 Primary Causes INFORMATION OVERLOAD

BY NICK DALTON

All knowledge workers of today can attest to the overwhelming amount of information they must deal with on a daily basis. This constant state of information overload is caused by several conspiring factors.

1.

MORE INFORMATION THAN WE CAN PROCESS. Search the

web for almost any topic, and you will get millions of web pages as a result. To this you can add hundreds of ebooks on the topic and most likely a dozen traditionally published books available on Amazon.com. There is no way you can possibly process all this information in your lifetime. And this is just for one topic you’re working on this week. How do you know which of all this information is remotely important, or even factually correct? Google tries to rank its search results by relevance according to its own secret algorithms. Traditional book publishers filter out most book proposals and only publish a very small fraction of the books they are offered. Presumably only the “best” books get published with this process. But according to what criteria? Just to discover who is an authority on the topic that you are trying to research, adds another dimension to your research. Which in turn results in more information that you need to process.

2.

BOMBARDMENT OF UNSOLICITED INFORMATION. How many

unsolicited emails do you

receive each day? And that’s after your SPAM filter has done its best to spare you from the majority of the onslaught. But do you

O INF really trust your SPAM filter? Don’t you occasionally check the SPAM folder to see if something important didn’t slip through? How many email lists or ezines have you subscribed to that were once relevant to your work, but are now just sending you irrelevant commercial offers? But since they once contained valuable information you stay on the subscription list because there may be something useful yet to come. When you search or browse the web you are constantly bombarded with ads that are tailored to appear to be relevant to what you are looking for. Since there might be something useful in these offers, you click on the ads, leading to even more unsolicited information that you need to evaluate and process. All this adds up to increasing amounts of unsolicited information that you need to

deal with, just to get to the information that you have requested and really need.

3.

SPEED OF NEW INFORMATION ACCELERATES. Back when

the majority of your information was delivered by the postman and the newspaper boy once a day, keeping up with the information flow was not a big problem. Today, the analogy of drinking from a fire hose pales in comparison to the flood of information rushing at you from all directions. Not only has the speed of delivery increased over time, but it continues to accelerate, creating an exponential effect.

4.

VALUE OF INFORMATION PLUMMETS. The information

age was based on the principle that information was scarce and valuable. In the Attention Age with a glut of information available, the perceived value quickly approaches zero. This applies indiscriminately to all information since we have no effective mechanisms to evaluate what is truly important, what is simply redundant and what is plain junk. Furthermore, it will probably not take long before people realize that some information is worth less than $0. Given that our attention is the most scarce and valuable resource in the Attention Age, processing and evaluating information

comes at a severe cost. This cost should be deducted from the previously perceived value of the information, to arrive at its true value.

5.

AMOUNT OF CONTRADICTION INCREASES. With a thousand

voices screaming at you, who do you trust? The one with the loudest voice? The one with the largest group of supporters? How do you evaluate contradictory information in a subject that you are just beginning to research? In previous ages, the number of information sources was significantly smaller, even orders of magnitudes smaller. Back then, these information sources assumed the role of an authority since they practically had a monopoly on information distribution. Think about your old hometown newspaper. What they printed was universally accepted as “the truth.”

6.

OUR INFORMATION NEEDS INCREASE.

“The one with the most money wins” has been replaced by “the one with the most information wins.” If you know something about the market that your competitor doesn’t, then you have an advantage. This information arms race leads to an ever increasing appetite for more information, which, of course, feeds into the previous causes in a vicious circle. These six causes were inspired by Rich Schefren’s recent report: The Attention Age Doctrine. Article from articlesnatch.com.

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FACTS FACT S

Did You Know? As we go from

grade school to high

school, we learn only 1/1,000,000,000

of what there is to

The

learn.

daily New York Times

now contains more

information

17th century man or woman would have encountered in a lifetime.

than a

Yes, the amount of information in our world today is staggering—is it a nuisance, a burden, or is it a precious resource, a commodity to be traded? It’s all in how you look at it and how you choose to use it.

3


Challenge Your Brain! Typoglycemia THE LAST 30 YEARS PREVIOUS 5,000 YEARS

Wtih all if tihs iarmoftionn on ifmrooatnin oerlvoad, isn’t it aimnzag taht you can sitll urnnsaetdd waht you are renadig? The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch taem, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey

INFO R M AT ION PROD UCED

In the last

30 years,

mankind has produced more

information than in the previous

5,000 years.

lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?

Brain Exercise: Count the number of times that the letter F appears in the following sentence: (answer below)

“Finished files are the result of years of scientific study combined with the experience of many years.”

Stroop Test Fortune-1,000

worker sends and receives approximately

178

messages and documents

each day.

Quick—say aloud the color of every word, NOT the word you read. The Stroop test is used in neuropsychological evaluations to measure mental vitality and flexibility, since performing well requires strong inhibition capability.

red white green brown green red brown white white brown green red red white green brown brown green white red white brown red green green white brown red red brown green white

Answer: 6! Most people miss the three “f”s in “of” simply because it appears at the end of the word and sounds like “v” instead of “f” as in fun!

The average

Great Mind Teaser!

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INFORMATION

OVERLOAD

Information overload is a fact of life for company directors, senior managers and all professionals. Information is coming in from all sides in the form of reports, memos, newspapers, journals, and letters, and now the advent of e-mail and Internet has turned the torrent into a flood.

“W

e have for the first time an economy based on a key resource [information] that is not only renewable, but selfgenerating. Running out of it is not a problem, but drowning in it is,” John Naisbitt, author of Megatrends.

Sustainable competitive advantage is ultimately about making better strategic and management decisions than your competitors. And those decisions need to be based on having a better insight than your competitors into how your business environment is developing.

How can directors cope with the onslaught? Or rather, since we are businesspeople, it seems the question should be how can we turn the reality of the new business environment into an opportunity and a competitive advantage?

The increasing globalization and diversification of business means that you can no longer look only at your own industry in your own town. Developments in other countries and industries and in technology could all suddenly and dramatically change the dynamics of the business your companies operate in.

“The competitiveness of firms will reflect the way their businesses receive and process information to create intelligence,” John Prescott, Chief Executive, BHP.

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And this is one of the main reasons information overload is a vital issue—not only

has there been a dramatic increase in the availability of information, but you now need to be informed on far broader range of issues in order to guide your companies forward in an increasingly rapidly changing environment. “In the period ahead of us, more important than advances in computer design will be the advances we can make in our understanding of human information processing—of thinking, problem solving, and decision making,” Herbert Simon, Economics Nobel-prize winner. Technology is perhaps at the root of the advent of information overload, though it will also be part of the solution, by providing increasingly refined ways of filtering data to present the most valuable information to the right people.

In the end, however, people are the ultimate processors of information, and—until computers replace company directors—people are the only ones who can effectively integrate and synthesize what they know to make effective management decisions in the light of their business environment. There is no quick fix; enhancing our skills requires effort and is an ongoing process. Implementing the following principles can make a real difference to your effectiveness in dealing with the new reality of information overload, and in your role as a company director.

1.

SET INFORMATION

OBJECTIVES. You can’t begin to sort through the “infoglut” unless you know what


Problem or Opportunity? BY ROSS DAWSON

is most important to you. To set effective information objectives you need to start from your own objectives and those of the company boards you sit on. In order to achieve these, what do you need to know about what is happening in your company, your industry, technology, the economy, and around the world? What are the forces at play which might impact your business and industry? Putting thought into identifying the key areas you need to be informed on, and prioritizing these by importance and timeliness will let you know what you should be focusing on.

2.

SELECT YOUR INFORMATION SOURCES.

Once you have a clear idea of your information objectives, you can make a deliberate decision about what sources you will use. Which reports, newspapers, magazines, journals, news services and television programs do you need to look at regularly? Once you know your priorities you can often rationalize the sources you need, rather than being swamped by a mountain of paper you can never get through. Can you use media summaries or industry updates? Getting the information you need more efficiently is well worth the cost of a subscription. Aim to read things your competitors aren’t likely to see—get a broad perspective.

3.

SET TIME ASIDE FOR

READING. Because reading is not urgent, it often doesn’t get done. Reading and learning are what Stephen Covey refers to as Quadrant II

out, most information has negative value: if you read something and it’s not useful, you’ve wasted your valuable time.

5.

BE OPEN TO USEFUL

INFORMATION. This seems to contradict the last dictum, but both must coexist. Nicholas Negroponte, director of MIT’s Media Lab and author of “Being Digital,” talks of the ‘serendipity factor’ in information. If you’re too blinkered in what you look at, you may never stumble on the most valuable information and insights. Companies and industries don’t exist in isolation, they are all part of a broader system. Some executives skim through a trade journal from a different industry each month, for insights

7.

DEVELOP YOUR READING AND NOTE-

There are many courses and books available on developing reading speed and comprehension. If you’re going to spend a couple of hours a day reading, then it’s well worth investing time and money if it can bring even a small improvement in your effectiveness. And everyone, however fast and effective they already are, can improve their reading skills. Taking effective notes can be one of the best ways of assimilating new ideas and perspectives into a framework that can help you make better decisions. Mindmapping, which allows you to represent the relationships

TAKING SKILLS.

activities—important but not urgent. You will make better decisions and be more effective for the rest of your working career if you keep abreast of developments in your industry, the business environment and technology. How long you should spend reading each day will vary tremendously for each individual, though most directors would benefit enormously from spending at least two hours each day learning more about developments in So, what can we as managers and directors do to improve their industry and the broad social, the way we deal with a world of massive information input economic and business and, in fact, turn our ability to do so into one of our core environment. Block out periods for competencies and a source of competitive advantage? reading each day at times that work for you—whether it’s in the between concepts, can be a very into their own situation. Much early morning, after lunch, the valuable tool for managers and may be irrelevant, but you can evening, or while commuting. directors. also find valuable information and insights, and you can be FILTER AGGRESSIVELY. SLEEP ON IT! The human sure your competition aren’t You have to be ruthless in mind learns by connecting seeing it! getting rid of surplus informanew ideas and information with tion. Get yourself off mailing your existing memories and PEOPLE ARE YOUR lists, use assistants to filter experience. The most useful BEST RESOURCE. In your messages, and use e-mail insights and perspectives often filtering software. From there, all the hype over Internet, come after your unconscious filtering is in its essence a mind has had the opportunity intranets, groupware and push process of scanning everything to sort through and link ideas technology, many seem to have together. Some of the ways you to judge according to your forgotten that often the most can assist this process and tap information objectives whether effective and efficient way of your intuition are by finding it’s worth reading or dealing finding information is through ways to represent your ideas with in more detail. Those people. How well-informed visually; regularly putting things that pass are read or put you are depends largely on yourself in relaxed, meditative aside for your reading time, the the quality of your personal states, and playing games that rest go in the bin. If you’re still network, and how effectively require spontaneity. getting too much to read, you you can gather and trade need to go back to your objecRoss Dawson is recognized globally as a leading information through the people strategy consultant, keynote speaker, and tives and refine them until you bestselling author. He is the Chairman of global you know. If you need to learn only get all the most important strategy and events firm Future Exploration about recent developments in a Network. His highly influential blog Trends in the information that you have time Living Networks, together with free chapters for. As knowledge management field or find out something—ask from his books, can be found at guru Karl Erik Sveiby points www.rossdawsonblog.com. the right person!

4.

8.

6.

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Integration of Content Management and CRM CREATING VALUE THROUGH THE

BY GARY WALKER

I

n the next year the proliferation of digital information is expected to continue at an astounding pace. The International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that the amount of digital information created in 2006 was roughly equivalent to 3 million times the information in all of the books ever written. IDC predicts that this amount will increase more than six fold by 2010. The increasing ability to create information easily allows companies to do more than ever before, but it also creates challenges. Sifting through a mountain of content to find the right information can take time, particularly if the information is not well organized or up to date. Additionally, information may frequently be recreated by different parts of the same company because there is no visibility to content across the enterprise. IDC estimates an “organization with 1000 knowledge workers loses $5.7 million annually just in time wasted having to reformat information as they move among applications. Not finding information costs that same organization an

additional $5.3 million a year.” In certain industries and situations there can also be dire consequences associated with not being able to access the right information at the At the same time companies are right time. These consequences tackling content management most often are associated with problems, many are also delivering timely and accurate implementing CRM systems information to customers and to more effectively manage typically involve regulatory, sales, support, and service sales, or customer support To solve these problems, a implications. In fact, IDC also estimates So what is the solution? An ideal solution is to link that 20 percent of the digital universe is CRM and ECM/CMS systems seamlessly so that directly subject to compliance relevant content is retrieved from the content management rules and standards. Many companies find that they are wandering in this “content wilderness” and have implemented content management solutions such as Documentum or others to help solve the problem. As separate entities, these systems can solve content management problems, reduce redundancy, and make it easier to find the right content. Coupled with XML authoring technologies, content management systems can certainly allow for content created in one part of an organization to be leveraged

Many companies find that they are wandering in this “content wilderness.”

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across the enterprise. Even so, while these systems are powerful in helping solve content authoring, management, and distribution problems, they are often not integrated with the other key systems that are vital to the business.

to use to find directly relevant information and spend more time actually helping the customer. When extended to the sales team, the benefits can directly impact revenue. How often do sales people waste time searching an unstructured repository to find product or proposal information, only to lose an opportunity because their response was untimely, incomplete, or included information that was out of date? Content management for the sake of organization is important, but it pales in comparison to the value that can be derived from managing critical content to empower sales, service, and customer support while maintaining complete regulatory compliance.

system based on data entered into CRM. processes. Unfortunately, only a few of these companies have realized the power that can be derived from integration of their content management and CRM systems. Those that have are achieving great advantages. Typically, a customer service or field service representative will enter customer and problem information in the CRM system and then access a separate CMS to find relevant product or service information. These steps increase the complexity of the process, take more time, require redundant data entry, and increase the likelihood of error. These problems have direct cost, customer satisfaction, and sometimes regulatory implications. By integrating CMS and CRM, companies can reduce the number of applications that call center representatives or field service personnel have

solution for linking content management and CRM is needed. In fact, such a solution will become mission critical as companies seek to change their customer service paradigms. The Web 2.0 generation is ever more demanding in the content and content access they expect from companies. In the past, customers were happy to get information that companies offered faster through the Internet. Today, they don’t care about the content that companies offer, they want the content that they want and they want it NOW. This is not only true of end customers, but of channel partners and third party service providers. So what is the solution? An ideal solution is to link CRM and ECM/CMS systems seamlessly so that directly relevant content is retrieved from the CMS based on data


In the next year, the proliferation of digital information is expected to continue at an astounding pace. IDC estimates that the amount of digital information created in 2006 was roughly equivalent to

3,000,000 times the information in all of the books ever written. entered into the CRM. In this scenario, customer-facing employees, or in many cases customers themselves, will deal with only one interface, avoid duplicate data entry, and receive appropriate content in real time for use in sales, service, customer support, or self-service. Even further along is the opportunity to

use electronic fulfillment mechanisms to deliver content directly to customers or service representatives in dynamically formatted documents available online or through mobile devices. This type of strategy allows content to serve its most useful purpose – to drive the business forward in ways that positively impact revenue,

customer satisfaction, and compliance. The key, however, is not in the technological integration, but in the solution design. The solution must be designed to provide “contextual access.� Contextual access is the ability to access content that is directly relevant to the situation at hand, in the right format and tailored to the user.

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The Content Management System GOING BEYOND

BY JOSEPH JENKINS

Companies are trying to cope with an information explosion. The amount of content and data within and outside of the average organization is growing exponentially. The majority of it—more than 90 percent—is unstructured and residing in various repositories.

T

his overload of disorganized information makes it nearly impossible for employees to find the content or data they need, let alone the correct version or representation of it. The inability to access and reuse existing content leads to the proliferation of redundant information across the enterprise, resulting in increased costs of information management, increased compliance risks, lower productivity, and slower time to market. Traditionally, most companies have looked to content management systems (CMS) to address this critical business need, since the CMS provides a central repository for storing, accessing and distributing information. A CMS provides an enterprise with a great starting point for getting control of its vast information resources. However, it alone doesn’t yield the significant operational efficiencies available through the reuse of existing

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content, automated creation and publishing of dynamic content, and faster, relevant searches across various information repositories. For these greater benefits, companies are implementing solutions that leverage Extensible Markup Language (XML), for creating and publishing content, as well as searching. XML provides more structure to the content by separating the content from its associated formatting, thus enabling a single source of information to be used for many different purposes. For example, a petroleum refinery company develops and maintains volumes of documents regarding startup, shutdown, backup and

normal operations procedures, which may exist in many formats including print and online. In addition to these documents, there are also training materials and other documentation developed that contains some, if not all, of the same information as the procedures. Most companies end up creating individual, static documents for each specific use—hardcopy procedures, online procedures, training materials, etc. This information is recreated and separately managed for each refinery site. A simple change to one procedure can become problematic, because all documents that are impacted must first be identified, updated, reviewed and approved, and finally published and distributed. In this case, failing to find all impacted documents can be devastating, possibly resulting in worker and public safety issues, fines, and release of hazardous materials into the environment. By creating the procedures in XML, the refinery can reuse the same information across various outputs including printed output, training materials, and other job aids. When a change is required, the information is updated once, and the outputs are automatically republished with the new information,

resulting in significant operational improvements such as: • Lower costs through the use of a single source of content across the enterprise. • Lower risk of non-compliance by ensuring only the use of the latest approved content across all outputs. • Increased productivity by reducing manual and error-prone processes, and automating the publishing of information to various output formats. Examples for using XML and content management systems to drive operational efficiencies and manage compliance risk are prevalent across all industries, in areas such as workforce training, customer relationship management, and the management of corporate policies and procedures. As companies continue to create information assets at exponential rates, it is imperative they implement solutions that allow them complete control over this content, to ensure the right people have access to the right information at the right time in the right format, and manage their compliance risk in the process.


RWD to Help Clients Realize the Full Potential of Documentum® CASE STUDY

EMC® Software’s Documentum family of products was created to help large enterprises automate the management and use of their content repositories. RWD continues to work with EMC customers to optimize the user experience through the effective integration of EMC and installed enterprise applications. MC Documentum is a complex and powerful software that often times can’t be utilized “out of the box.” In many cases, it requires some customization in order to meet specific client requirements.

E

are created and demonstrated for the client. Any changes that are needed can be made at this point. Once the configuration is done, the Documentum solution goes into final on-site testing followed by production.

RWD can help Documentum clients with these customizations. By automating the handling, use and storage of some or all of their information assets, users will be able to achieve greater efficiencies and cost-savings than paper-based systems allow.

EMC does provide basic training on its Documentum products; however, RWD can augment this training to provide end users and system administrators with additional training that pertains to the new, customized functions that have been developed. This training ranges from classroom training and printed user guides to eLearning modules and materials for learning management systems that clients have in place.

A Documentum project is similar in approach to any large software development process. RWD will first analyze the client’s business processes and determine what its unique requirements are. Those requirements are then put into a Documentum design workflow—which depicts how Documentum would actually implement the business workflow. After the client has reviewed and approved the proposed Documentum workflow—and the custom automation points within it—those workflows go on to implementation. A series of Documentum software builds

RWD has been working with several clients in the public sector that had previously purchased Documentum but were not realizing its full potential. While some business processes were handled automatically on legacy systems, other critical business processes were still being done manually. RWD provided the Documentum customizations that were needed - resulting in automated workflows

for handling both data and business rules, and resulting in an integrated solution with their legacy business systems. The first official RWD Documentum offering is the Documentum Procurement and Accounts Payable Solution (DPAPS). Among other things, it provides: • Automation of complex financial workflows. • A central repository for document management. • An electronic process for purchase-order, invoice and voucher approvals. • Availability outside the

finance department through integration with other business systems. DPAPS and other RWD Documentum solutions will be available to both current users of the product; and prospective users who are considering the product, but looking for assurance of its performance. While initial implementations may address the workflows relating to procurement and accounts payable, future Documentum projects could apply just as well to other types of finance-information workflow that would benefit from automation.

Through careful analysis of business processes and unique requirements, we can help build our clients one hot-rod of a software package— practically right out of the box.

RWD infoMaestroTM helps you improve response time, increase customer satisfaction and address compliance issues through streamlined access to information. infoMaestro recently received the “Designed for EMC® Documentum®” accreditation, demonstrating it has successfully met EMC’s comprehensive set of criteria for solid design and quality integration. Contact: 888.648.2240 x7075 or 410.869.7075 info@rwd.com 10


PERFORMANCE

MATTERS Solutions That Perform

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RWD Technologies 5521 Research Park Drive Baltimore, MD 21228 1.888.RWD.TECH


Performance Matters on Information Overload