June 28, 2017

Information: the MVP of the Digital Workplace

3 minute read

Now that Russell Westbrook is the MVP of the 2016-2017 NBA season, one begins to wonder: what is the real MVP of the workplace?

For us, it’s the information. Information is the most valuable component to any strategy. It is the essence of your business – transactions, strategy documents, contracts, design files. Information is the end-all-be-all of the workplace, not only because it promotes productivity, but also because it helps teams make better decisions.


Good Decisions Require Good Information

Gathering information is the first step in making any informed decision. Like a basketball player, every piece of content in your organization has its own list of vital stats. Instead of things like “height,” “weight,” “field goal percentage,” or “three point conversions,” information utility and quality is governed by metadata – “creation date,” “author,” “business function,” and others.

Content that is well-governed has extensive metadata, so it can be easily sorted and searched to find just the right information for the job. When you have enough information about your information, where it is stored does not matter. Data integrity, when paired with a unified search interface, makes access simple and quick. If a coach doesn’t know how a player performs in a specific role, what shots they are likely to make, and how they match up against the competition, how is that player anything but a liability? What we know and what we don’t know determines our ability to weigh our options. If we don’t know where a piece of information is stored, we should still know enough about it to be able to find it.

Effective Decisions are Executed Quickly

All of the above is well and good, but if you’re unable to get that quality of information governance quickly and accurately, any value gained is lost in productivity and the potential for error.

At the beginning of the 2013-14 season, the NBA implemented a variety of statistics capturing methods that perfectly demonstrate the potential of automation to augment information quality. Traditionally, officials tracked basic statistics like shot attempts and defensive efforts, augmented by the hard work of ancillary analysts.

By adding six smart cameras to every arena, The NBA is now able to track more granular measures (like player speed and distance travelled), and drill further into the variety of shots taken with much more precision and speed than human statisticians can. Not only that, they are able to upload much of this information for public consumption in real time.

Asking for this type of granularity and expediency outside the context of automation would be entirely unreasonable. But when the technology exists and implementing it is feasible, it is unreasonable not to automate information governance.

Speed, Accuracy, and Findability

Information is the MVP in the digital workplace, but the MVP can’t stand alone. Information must be supported by process, user experience, and governed to be most effective. Without that support, well, let’s just say that Russell Westbrook couldn’t take down the Rockets on his own.

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