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Less than a Quarter of Businesses Adequately Support Knowledge Work

Research crystallizes analysis of more than 1,000 knowledge workers and 500,000 digital conversations to help forge path for the future of knowledge work

CHICAGO and LONDON – March 4, 2021 – iManage, the company dedicated to Making Knowledge Work™, today released research that finds just 23 percent of knowledge workers report their organization is ahead of the curve in digital capabilities to support knowledge work. The implications of this finding are far-reaching, as knowledge workers are often the drivers of workplace innovation through the application of their ideas, skills, experience, knowledge, and judgement. With some estimates counting knowledge professionals at more than 1 billion worldwide, the iManage report demonstrates the need for many organizations to sharpen their strategies for enabling their professionals to connect with, activate, use, and retain critical knowledge across their businesses.

Key findings include:

  • 68 percent of knowledge workers believe “the information contained in digital documents and files” is vital to their business. Respondents rated contracts, emails, and spreadsheets as the three most important sources of digital information
  • 74 percent believe knowledge work will be even more important to business in a post-COVID world
  • 47 percent of survey respondents state improving employee productivity and collaboration is one of their organization’s top goals
  • 28 percent of survey respondents said that most or all of their documents are scattered and siloed across multiple systems
  • 30 percent of respondents said that documents reach their organization via five or more channels

Rapidly expanding knowledge assets and technology have changed the way we work, live and conduct business. With much of the global economy trading on intellectual capital rather than the production of tangible goods, workers’ knowledge or intellectual property may not be able to be physically seen or touched, but it holds tremendous value in driving business results and must be preserved, protected, and shared within the organizations it powers.

A New Approach to Knowledge Work is the Key to Deriving Maximum Value

“Really understanding how to make knowledge work achieve its highest and best use within organizations is a perspective shift that goes beyond enabling simple knowledge management. It requires putting into place an ecosystem for knowledge activation,” said Neil Araujo, CEO iManage.  “Organizations must have a breadth of capabilities at work that include collaboration, secure storage and retrieval, ability to work from anywhere, and capacity to curate and repurpose institutional knowledge – all delivered though a high-performance, reliable cloud service.  This empowers knowledge workers to create opportunities for unencumbered thinking, higher level productivity, and creativity that drives innovation and spurs new business opportunities.”

Approaches to closing knowledge gaps have been fragmented, and crucial information has fallen through the cracks, taking critical value with it. When viewed in context of the exponential increases in data volume and data sources, the challenge is magnified. According to IDC, the amount of data created over the next three years will be more than the data created over the past 30 years, and the world will create more than three times the data over the next five years than it did in the previous five.

Contextual Relevance is Essential for Effective Knowledge Work

For many knowledge workers, the units of work they handle are large, complex, and often involve multiple people and teams. The collective intelligence amassed from collaborating across these diverse teams and projects, along with the unique expertise contributed by team members, forms an essential part of the institutional memory of an organization. Effective knowledge work platforms need to be able to contextualize knowledge created and gathered across enterprises over extensive periods of time to deliver the right information to the right knowledge professional at the right time.

When information is siloed, scattered, or cannot be effectively identified and shared, it not only blocks productivity but can also negatively affect employee and customer satisfaction.  Making relevant, contextual information fast and easy to find and activate is essential to improving productivity.

Automation Technologies are Underutilized

The study also found that respondents’ organizations were slow to adopt automation technology. While Artificial Intelligence (AI) figured prominently in the digital conversations analyzed, less than 40 percent of those surveyed reported that their departments were using automation technologies of any kind when working with very important digital documents or files, and fewer than 37 percent were using automated workflows.

By raising awareness of key drivers and influences shaping the future of the global knowledge work marketplace, iManage is helping companies and their professionals chart a course to maximize the impact of knowledge work.

More About the Report

The multi-layered research, conducted by Metia Group’s insight unit, combines elements of Metia primary research with in-depth research commissioned by iManage. Findings are based on qualitative and quantitative analysis of more than 500,000 global, digital conversations over two years, alongside dozens of in-depth interviews with subject matter experts, as well as quantitative survey results from a sample of 1,068 businesses across the US and UK. A complimentary white paper reporting some of the key findings can be downloaded here.

About iManage

iManage is dedicated to Making Knowledge Work™. Our cloud-native platform is at the center of the knowledge economy, enabling every organization to work more productively, collaboratively, and securely. Built on more than 20 years of industry experience, iManage helps leading organizations manage documents and emails more efficiently, protect vital information assets, and leverage knowledge to drive better business outcomes. As your strategic business partner, we employ our award-winning AI-enabled technology, an extensive partner ecosystem, and a customer-centric approach to provide support and guidance you can trust to make knowledge work for you. iManage is relied on by more than one million professionals at 4,000 organizations around the world. Visit to learn more.

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