Enhancing Information Management for Greater Working Flexibility
The ability to provide tailored, flexible services for clients is becoming increasingly important across all industry sectors. Companies can no longer rely on static points of difference or competitive advantage to ensure profitability in perpetuity. Savvy organisations must instead constantly heed the wishes of their customers — and their employees — in order to stay productive and competitive. Information management solutions play a big role in helping businesses maintain this flexibility, which is crucial for both attracting customers and retaining good staff.
Creating a Flexible Organisation
One of the most important tenets of a flexible organisation is a workforce that is not tied to their desks or any other fixed location. Many organisations may be reluctant to embrace more flexible working arrangements for their staff due to customer perceptions. However, as former lawyer Judith Bennett notes of law firms, “research in 2015 by Victorian Women Lawyers (VWL) shows that, contrary to myths, clients see it as irrelevant whether their lawyers work flexibly (and government and in-house clients often have flexible work practices in their own workplaces).
Clients focus on the skills and quality of the legal service provider, the cost and the result.” Information management strategy can make a significant impact in this area. When information assets are hard to find, siloed within individual departments, or exclusively paper-based, the ability of staff to move freely about and access data from locations of their choice is severely limited.
Another angle on organisational flexibility is the extent to which employees are able to perform tasks outside of their core area of expertise. The more efficiently and broadly that information is disseminated, the more effectively that employees can take up slack in areas beyond their normal responsibilities. “For employers, having employees willing to step outside their job description means they can get more accomplished with workers who are able to take on more responsibilities, do different tasks, and do more at work,” says Alison Berry of The Balance. “It also means, that the employer doesn’t have to persuade employees to take on more work. Flexible employees are willing to do whatever is necessary to get the task accomplished or the job done.” The right information management strategy is essential for ensuring employees are as flexible as possible in their roles.
Customer Experience and Flexibility
Clients are also putting increasing pressure on businesses to be flexible. “Customer experience processes… should not be maps providing one route only that must be followed at all costs,” writes Christian Remy for CustomerGauge, “but instead they should provide multiple routes.” Client expectations of flexibility come in many forms. For example, modern customers expect that businesses will provide multiple channels for communication, that services will be available across a wide variety of platforms and outside of regular business hours, and that media will be shared in compatible formats. Whether or not an organisation can meet these demands largely depends on the quality of its information management, as a solid paper-based or ICT information management system will provide the internal dexterity required in order to meet the external flexibility requirements.
Discover the solutions in Grace’s FREE in-depth information management report – available exclusively at www.grace.com.au/information/flexibility