Instant Access in the Age of the Consumer

In 1989, Richard Saul Wurman, the architect and designer who coined the phrase “information architecture,” told us “a weekday edition of The New York Times contains more information than the average person was likely to come across in a lifetime in seventeenth-century England.” 

This is quite a statement when you think about it. The thought that we have exposure to more information in a fraction of a day than what some of our forbearers experienced in an entire lifetime is powerful.

The truth is simple. There is an explosion of information happening all around us and it should come as no surprise. The challenge, though, is not in understanding that this information exists – it’s how we can best leverage it in every aspect of our daily lives.

Our physiology serves no barrier. The average human brain is capable of processing 20 quintillion calculations per second. So the challenge becomes access. How do we get our hands on all the information that is hanging out at our fingertips?

Google streamlines the way we can search for topics. Wikipedia has made amazing strides in collating numerous resources to organize all its users’ collective knowledge. Applications like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter help us keep tabs on the people and topics important to us. And practically anyone can have their own email account, with all their personal documents and communication housed in the cloud, not restricted to any one device.

These capabilities are then amplified by additional platforms and technologies. There are programs that deliver relevant tweets right to your desktop and RSS feeds that bring interesting topics and articles directly to your inbox. You can carry your information with you on your tablet. And a vibrating smart phone could indicate a new email, a status update on Facebook or that your most recent bank statement is available. The bottom line is that information is delivered to us as it happens and we hardly have to wait. And we are growing more accustomed to consuming information in this manner throughout our personal lives.

But what about work?

In the past, most technological innovations first gained traction in the office. Consumer use soon followed. The personal computer is a prime example – developed initially for business use, and then became widely popular in a home-setting.

This trend has changed. Technology is now being used for personal purposes before ever being considered a relevant tool within the office. This concept is known as the “consumerization of IT” and means that the consumer now drives information technology innovation rather than the business market. This poses serious concerns for organizations as they facilitate the expectations of their workforce, to use technology that is familiar.

This trend is integrating a variety of technologies into our daily lives, making information more readily available and giving us the means to access it. But as we grow more accustomed to this, we expect it to be all the more instantaneous. What might be perceived as luxuries by some is swiftly becoming the norm or a necessity at work.

And did you know that enterprise content management (ECM) is the key to it all?

ECM solves the information access problem by identifying what you can access, and by making everything you need accessible, electronically. That’s what ECM is all about.

The trend towards “consumerization of IT” solves the problem of how and when you access information.

When you add these two worlds together you get a business solution relevant for today’s world. Instant access to relevant business content, however and wherever you are.

When all is said and done, technology at work doesn’t have to be any different than technology at home. By investing in the right ECM product, you ensure an optimal experience for your users and stronger results for your business because you no longer have to find your information. It finds you.


Glenn Gibson

Glenn Gibson

Glenn Gibson is the director of Product Communication at Hyland, creator of OnBase. With 15 years working in the IT industry, he’s collected several certifications over the years as a... read more about: Glenn Gibson

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