Is information overload blocking organisational sustainability?

While access to articles, guides, research and results has theoretically never been greater, in reality outdated systems are holding many teams back.

books on white wooden shelf

A new study, The Future of Data, looked at 1,500 business decision leaders at organisations employing 250 people or more and how they find information needed to inform choices on everything from workflow and ordering to workplace management. The results show that almost half (43%) are unable to track down what they need to be effective in their roles, and 57% say there are too many channels to search for information.

The quality of what is available has also emerged as a problem. Almost 60% find contradictions between data found on one platform compared with another. Meanwhile, 72% say that less than half of what they access is relevant, with one day per week spent on searching for information. Among ‘knowledge workers’, 41% have at least six internet tabs open in a browser at any one time, with search engines, followed by networking, discussion and social media the most efficient methods of improving knowledge. Just 14% of respondents had access to the deep web, which makes up around 90% of the internet and includes paywalled sites, private databases and email. 

Artificial intelligence firm AMPLYFI, which conducted the study, has now published an analysis pointing to the problem this is causing, from wasted time to limiting growth. A significant impact on sustainability efforts has also been identified, with rapidly changing guidance, rules and regulations in this area dictating rising demand for information and advice online. Machine learning and automation can assist in conducting rapid gathering and analysis of data, presenting organisations with a major opportunity to improve efficiencies.

Paul Teather, CEO of AMPLYFI, said: ‘The rapid expansion of the internet has resulted in fragmented data, which is harder to source and even harder to interpret. It’s estimated that 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years and the reality is many knowledge workers are struggling to keep up. Business leaders therefore have a responsibility to provide more effective information gathering and storing processes for their workforce.

‘Omitting the deep web, which contains such a vast expanse of the internet, means teams are making critical decisions based on just a fraction of the information available,’ he continued. ‘AI is opening up new avenues for information gathering. Businesses can now harness a single source of information, conduct a lifetime of reading in 20 minutes, and create their own highly relevant content feeds, pulling from multiple sources across the internet. AI is ultimately allowing knowledge workers to put their fingerprint on the vast pool of data available.’

More on organisational sustainability: 

Circular technology: What’s in store for 2024?

A Glassdoor for workplace climate action and education is here

How to celebrate organisational sustainability and avoid ‘greenhushing’

Image: Sigmund


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