Knowledge workers – those individuals in companies of all sizes and across all industries whose primary role is the creation or management of information – are an essential and growing component of the workforce. Moreover, document collaboration is a common (and increasingly so) component of knowledge workers’ daily tasks. For example, an Osterman Research survey found that during a typical month, knowledge workers create an average of 36 documents on which they will need to collaborate with others, and they are asked by others to collaborate on an additional 34 documents. The total of 70 such documents during a typical month equates to an average of more than three document collaborations per day.
However, despite the fact that document collaboration is such a frequent task for knowledge workers, the tools that many such workers employ are not sufficient to satisfy their needs. For example:
- Nearly one-half of knowledge workers consider document collaboration to be problematic.
- A significant proportion of knowledge workers finds that poor document collaboration contributes to compliance and regulatory problems, missed deadlines, poor document quality, and difficulty in maintaining corporate standards in their organizations.
- Problems with document collaboration are experienced across all industries, but more significantly in organizations that operate in heavily regulated environments.
In an effort to remedy the current state of problematic document collaboration, decision makers should understand that:
- Knowledge workers are difficult to attract and retain. A robust economy exacerbates the problem by shifting the economic balance from businesses to knowledge workers, since this makes opportunities for other employment more common, and increases wage pressure on employers who must pay more to attract and retain talented workers.
- IT’s role in retaining knowledge workers and motivating them is essential. For example, we found that in 51% of the organizations surveyed, IT plays an important or critical role in knowledge worker retention and motivation, while in another 30% of organizations IT has some influence.
- Importantly, the survey found that knowledge workers also play a key role in helping to drive change within IT departments in the context of purchasing and deploying document collaboration tools. Our research found that in 51% of organizations, knowledge workers play an important or critical role in helping to influence IT decisions, while in just 12% they play no role or only a minimal role.
We will be publishing a white paper on this topic shortly. Let us know if you’d like an advance copy of the paper prior to its publication.