Is the hunt for data killing your productivity?

image of coyoteWhen it comes to the modern workplace, there’s a lot of emphasis on data management. Of course, that assumes the data can be found – and that’s a problem.

The problem is that data sources are often scattered across the enterprise. Though everyone likes to think of the workplace as a collection of virtual spaces where anyone can access anything, that’s not quite true.

Few people know where to find all the data they need. Even if they do know where the data is … gathering it together can seem like a treasure hunt. At the end of the day, what often defines productivity is how much time was spent in the “data hunt” and how much was cooking up (using) the data.

An article posted on RelateIQ’s website (maker of relationship management software) made some great points about this underlying problem of the daily “data hunt.”

The article “Relationship Management is Broken” states:

“This fragmented data problem results in huge amounts of wasted time … In an Accenture survey, the majority of managers reported that they store their most valuable information in a siloed location that others can’t access, whether that’s their computer hard drives or an individual email account.”

The article goes on to cite an IDC study that quantified the problem further: the average knowledge worker spends 11 hours a week searching for information, compiling it from disparate sources, and needlessly recreating work done before.

That’s about one-quarter of the workweek!

While the larger point RelateIQ is making is about the need for relationship management software, we see the same kind of issues crop up in how businesses of all sizes handle contracts and contract data.

A shortcut for data hunting

First and foremost, the act of implementing a contract management solution, such as Contract Assistant, is a great way to organize contract information. If you’ve worked in a business with more than 50 employees, you know there can be a stunningly large number of contracts within each small department – and yet no single repository of information on the entire index of contracts.

 A single, searchable database of contract information that includes key terms, contacts and even financial summaries goes a long way to ensuring this data can be found – quickly – in the enterprise. Just having access to the known index of vendors in any enterprise can become a shortcut to a contracting solution.

In an organization where one business unit doesn’t even know the full roster of vendors working for a company, it can be very easy for knowledge workers to spend (waste) many hours repeating the kind of work already done by other units.

For example, when employees in a business unit take on the task of drafting an RFP, are they even aware of how other units have solved that problem? Does an existing vendor provide the exact service they are looking for? Who has dealt with this problem before and found a vendor to solve that problem/issue?

Having a contract management solution means users can review the entire index of contract partners and find key contacts and information so they can get answers to questions like those above.

This is not an unusual or rare situation by any means, either. I know from personal experience business units can sit within earshot of each other and not know a vendor providing services to one unit is the solution to another business unit’s problem.

So, you have to ask yourself: How much time and effort in your business is spent repeating work or hunting for information because people either a) don’t have access to a database of contracts or b) aren’t aware that there is a contract database?

In either case, the answer is to get and implement a contract database – and the sooner the better.

[About the author: Todd Hyten is a former business journalist who now writes about B2B topics and consults on content marketing. You can find him on Twitter and ]

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