5 key information management trends

Over the last few years, the amount of information businesses have to deal with has jumped dramatically. Driven by much more widespread use of connected devices across the world – with these no longer limited to just desktop and laptop PCs – the data coming into organisations is getting bigger and more detailed all the time.

And this is not likely to stop any time soon, as more people get connected to the internet and use digital devices to manage all aspects of their lives. Cisco recently noted, for instance, that the amount of IP traffic being sent and received around the world in 2018 will be higher than all traffic generated globally between 1984 and 2013.

As such, the way in which businesses think about their information and how they manage it is changing significantly. So here are five key information management trends chief information officers need to be aware of.

  1. Mobile device diversity

A big challenge for information management professionals revolves around making sure data is easily and securely viewable on a wide range of different devices. Businesses will have to contend with the differing requirements of desktop and laptop, tablet and smartphone users, as well as increased fragmentation in the software market. As such, providing a consistent experience for users across all platforms is a major challenge.

  1. Big data vs smart data

By now, every IT professional should be aware of the impact of the big data trend and what it will mean for the way in which employees handle information. But simply gathering large volumes of data will not be enough if this information is not relevant to the questions firms need answering, or is too difficult to derive insight from.  To be successful, information management professionals need to understand what data will actually be useful and focus their efforts on this ‘smart data’ – which may not be as voluminous as big data, but will usually provide better results.

  1. Internet of Everything

Related to this is the huge increases in sources of data – driven largely by more connected devices and sensors known as the Internet of Everything. Cisco estimates there will be 7.3 billion machine-to-machine connections globally by 2018. With so much new information entering businesses – much of which will be unstructured and difficult to manage using traditional solutions, firms will need to react to this.

  1. Privacy takes priority

One issue that emerged last year was who can access confidential data – driven in large part by the Edward Snowden revelations and subsequent claims of spying by the NSA and GCHQ. This, coupled with a growing number of cyber attacks on large firms, have made it more important than ever for companies to make the security and privacy of confidential business and customer information a top priority.

  1. Who’s in control of the cloud?

One other outcome of the 2013 spying scandal was that many European and Asia-Pacific firms have looked to move information away from US-based cloud computing solutions in favour of more local options. This represents a growing concern among businesses about who is in control of cloud storage and information management solutions and what the data governance issues surrounding this are. As such, it can be expected that solutions such as private and hybrid clouds can that insulate key information will be another key trend in the years to come.

Less mess, less stress?

Everybody has heard the old adage “tidy house, tidy mind”, but could this extend to the workplace? Does less clutter on your desk or in your surrounding area mean you are less likely to feel stressed?

Clearing the rubbish from a desk or helping to de-clutter the office could help employees focus on their own workload as there would be less distractions taking their attention away from the matter at hand.

Focus

When your environment – either work or home – is messy this creates chaos, which then restricts your ability to focus. According to research from  Princeton University Neuroscience Institute, the surrounding clutter limits the brain’s ability to process information.

This means you become distracted and are unable to focus on the work that needs to be done. Once these obstructions are removed, the working environment becomes more organised, which is the perfect setting for productive staff.

Researchers at the university used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques to map the brain’s responses to disorganised stimuli and to monitor task performance. The findings revealed that to process information effectively a person’s workspace must be clear and organised.

The study demonstrated that workers would be less irritable, more productive, less distracted and better able to manage their workload in an uncluttered environment.

Morale

A clean and tidy office doesn’t just improve employees’ ability to focus on their job, it also improves staff morale.

If workers come into a dirty and disorganised office every day they are unlikely to be looking forward to Monday morning. Being confronted with disorder means employees are likely to start their day on a bad note and their mood could worsen as the day progresses.

An organised and clean workspace will breed success and is also a reflection of how staff themselves feel about their jobs. Those who take pride in de-cluttering their own desks and cleaning up after themselves are more likely to have the same attitudes towards their work.

Employees should be encouraged to keep their own areas clean and clear, not only to provide the perfect environment for productivity for themselves, but to also keep staff morale for the office high.

Businesses can enlist the help of a contract cleaning company to make sure all the communal areas are perfectly clean, meaning employees only have to look after their own work stations.

Productivity

A chaotic work environment does not engender productivity, instead it is a hotbed for tension, mistakes and unprofessionalism.

If staff need to search through stacks of unorganised papers or a disorganised filing cabinet to answer a customer query it is likely to upset both parties. The employee will become stressed as they can’t find the information they need and the customer may feel that the company cannot be trusted.

By de-cluttering and sorting the personal workspace, as well as the rest of the office, it encourages workers to be more productive, while reducing work-related stress at the same time.

With an efficient workplace comes much needed structure. This means staff are able to accomplish more and generate new business.

What type of Cloud is best for me?

It’s quite fair to say that, so far, the Cloud is the IT buzzword of 2014. Everyone seems to be getting in on it, or at the very least considering implementing it into their business operations.

Of course, used correctly, the Cloud can be an incredibly powerful tool – improving a firm’s flexibility, saving it money and giving it an edge over competitors that have yet to brace such methods that can take efficiency levels to new heights.

However, one thing that many are failing to realise is that, when it comes to this technology, it’s not a case of one size fits all. There are a variety of different Clouds out there – and putting your faith and investment into the wrong one could potentially be a costly mistake to make in the long term.

With that in mind, those thinking about stepping into the Cloud for the first time need to know what system is likely to suit their needs, ensuring their expectations are met and ambitions are realised.

The private Cloud

There are effectively three types of Cloud and the private variation is the first to consider.

Infrastructure and services are maintained on a secured network, which usually comes in the guise of an organisation’s local data centre. As a result, the main pro to this setup is the high level of protection offered to information stored on the system.

However, the biggest drawback is the cost – with the operating firm still required to purchase and maintain the software it’s using.

Larger companies tend to turn to the private Cloud, as they have the resources to run such hyper-scalable data centres effectively and efficiently – and often have a greater need for an increased level of security and control.

The public Cloud

This example is more befitting of the traditional Cloud concept, with services and infrastructure supplied off-site via the internet by providers like Canopy – the open Cloud company.

When it comes to assisting a firm in saving money on their operational costs, the public Cloud is probably the best bet, as there is a minimal outlay required in comparison to those needed when implementing the private variation.

A public Cloud is also ideal when you require incremental capacity – this flexibility can prove to be incredibly useful at times when you are likely to experience busier periods that require a greater amount of resources than you would normally be relying on.

However, the main concern for public systems is security – therefore it is essential to be aware of compliancy regulations and data protection strategies you may need before embarking down this route.

The hybrid Cloud

Arguably the best of both worlds, the hybrid Cloud – by definition – is a mixture of the public and private variations.

This approach could be ideal for businesses that aren’t too sure what type of Cloud is best for them to start of with, as it allows them to effectively dip their toes in the water to see what the system can offer them – without the need to invest a lot of money.

Here, you can experience the security offered by the private Cloud with the scalability of the public system, assisting you in making the decision of what’s more important when applying the technology to your organisation.

As logic dictates, do as much research as you can before taking the plunge. One thing’s for certain though – it’s only a matter of time before you embrace the Cloud like everyone else.

Two Top Tips to achieving the most from your Website

When it comes to creating a website that stands out amongst the rest, ensuring that it always stays ahead of the pack, it is important to remember that there is no magic pill or quick-fix that will guarantee that the website will achieve its full potential. Thanks to the technology of today though, concepts such as Search Engine Optimisation exist, making it possible for your website to be ranked higher in the search engine results. With this said though, it is important to remember that the process of SEO is constantly evolving, making it vital that you keep updated with the latest that the technology has to offer. There are a large number of SEO type tips and hints floating around the internet, so we decided to speak to PokiesPalace, one of the leading names in online gambling websites, in order to find out what they believe to be the most important characteristics that turn good websites into great ones.

Keywords are King

If you are the type of person that spends many hours a day searching through page after page of search engine results, then the idea of understanding the specific words that the masses will most likely use when searching the net, may come quite easily to you. Although, for the people that are not as clued up in the specific vocabulary trends, you will be glad to know that tools, such as Google’s Keyword Planner, make it possible for you to know exactly which words and keywords are more popular than others. Using these features when creating headlines and tags will make it possible for your website to receive a higher amount of hits.

Content is Key

When it comes to content, many people seem to make the mistake of believing that quantity is more important than quality. It is obvious that your website needs to have regular content updates, although if you spend more time writing content with the sole purpose of increasing your search engine ranking, it is possible that you may forget the most important aspect to any great website, the viewers. It is important to write content that primarily appeals to the readers, with the SEO-specific characteristics subtly shining through.

By Jason Swindon