By Erin Swan
The 21st century is the Age of Information, and the success of your business in this century depends heavily on your ability to properly share and utilize the information you have on hand. Regardless of whether that information is regarding your customers’ needs, a new development that influences your business, or a potential contract with a new client, every member of your business must be able to effectively receive, share, and respond to new information as quickly as possible.
If you find that information in your business gets stuck in separate “silos” and is not shared between departments, then you’re missing out on a lot of potential opportunities for growth. And, more importantly, if you’re not able to share appropriate information with your clients, then you run the risk of losing clients due to a lack of communication, costly delays in information sharing, or sharing of incorrect or outdated information.
So why is information sharing so vital to businesses today? The answer actually lies in the two different types of information sharing—personnel sharing and client sharing.
The Importance of Personnel Sharing
No matter how efficient your individual departments are, if there is no interdepartmental sharing of information, your company as a whole is not as effective as it could be. In many businesses, information often gets stuck in “silos,” where it is inaccessible to other members of the company.
For example, let’s say your customer support team is getting constant calls from customers complaining about a recurring issue with a piece of software you sell. The customer support team offers “Band-Aid” solutions to each customer individually as they encounter the problem. While this might temporarily solve the issue your customers are having, imagine what could happen if your customer support department communicated with the IT department.
When customer support noticed that this was a recurring issue, they could have informed the software developers. This team could have then pinpointed the cause of the problem and corrected the issue itself, rather than just treating the symptoms. Not only does this completely solve the problem at hand, but it could prevent countless customers from having a negative experience with your product.
It is important to remember that, in a business setting, the value of information is exponential—or, in other words, my information plus your information can add up to far more than just two pieces of information. Think of it like a jigsaw puzzle. A single piece of the puzzle doesn’t give you much of an idea of what the big picture might be. But if you put together a few pieces, you can begin to see the pattern emerging, and it becomes easier and easier to put all of the pieces together. Simply put, the more information (or puzzle pieces) you have, the easier it is to get the job done.
The Importance of Client Sharing
Of course, no matter how effective you are at sharing information within your business, it matters very little if you aren’t effectively sharing appropriate information with your clients. Like we said, this is the information age, and consumers expect to be able to constantly receive information from the people and businesses they interact with—whether that be through email, social media, or another means of sharing information. But when it comes to sensitive information that pertains exclusively to their contract with your business, proper information sharing becomes even more vital.
Clients want to know that you are not only capable of sharing information with them quickly and effectively, but that you are also able to do so in a secure and confidential manner. In this Age of Information, information can hold a lot of value, and it deserves a level of protection that reflects that value. Using a secure sharing portal like our SecureDrawer product allows you to share documents and information with your clients in a manner that is not only quick and efficient, but completely confidential as well.
The Power of Sharing
The true power of sharing information cannot be overstated. Consider, as an example, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. A great amount of blame for those attacks was placed on the fact that government entities were not sharing appropriate information with one another; if they had been, many people believed that the attacks could have been prevented. Since then, government agencies have implemented information-sharing protocols like nothing they have ever done before.
While this is obviously a very drastic example, the lesson it teaches still stands: Sharing the right information with the right people at the right time can have enormous impacts. And of course, this lesson applies to your business. It is vital that you develop a culture of information sharing in your business—both with other personnel and with your clients—so that you can be as effective as possible.
If you would like to learn more about the power of information sharing, be sure to attend our Edge User Conference in Las Vegas next week. We’ll be offering courses on this topic and many others that can help you to build a better business. You can learn more about the conference and reserve your seat on this page.