We live in a digital society. Most people follow the news on their smartphone, shopping is ordered on a tablet from the sofa movies are streamed through our smart TVs. Products and services for consumers are rapidly being digitised, but in businesses and Governments work is also increasingly done digitally. Thanks to digitisation, the number of videos, documents, images, etc. is growing drastically. Especially organisations find it increasingly difficult to manage all these data and sources of information, with the end result that much information and data becomes untraceable; a challenge about which organisations can learn a lot from Netflix and Spotify.
Take your own private computer for example. Most likely it has documents, photos and movies on it. Maybe you keep all of your documents in the same folder. However, chances are that you have created a structure for your documents, so that you have a folder for each subject or theme. In every folder there are subfolders and these probably have more subfolders and you guessed it: recreate a new folder and so on. This type of subdivision is called a folder structure. As the amount of data, information and documents in many organisations grows, so do these folder structures. And then to think that we were talking about having just one structure. An organisation often has a his or her own folder structure, which may differ considerably from one another.
And therein lies the problem: how can you retrieve a specific document in an over-abundance of folders that also have different structures?
Unique approach at Spotify and Netflix
Spotify holds more than 30 million music items. Imagine if these were just organised in folders.
Spotify holds more than 30 million music items. Imagine if these were just organised in folders, how would you ever be able to find any music? Netflix includes thousands of movies and hundreds of series. Could you see yourself going through all of these thousands of folders just to find a good movie?
Spotify and Netflix thus face the same challenges as most organisations: quick and easy searches to find objects. What music and movies are to Spotify and Netflix, are documents, presentations, projects, customers, contracts, drawings etc. to organisations.
To make a music item traceable, it gets more data information on Spotify than just a name. The track ‘Captain Jack’ is not just labelled as a song by Billy Joel, but also as ‘pop music’, as released in 1973 and as part of the album ‘Piano Man’. As a result, you will be able to find this number if you are interested in pop music or in music from that specific period. The same applies to movies; I want to see a movie with Leonardo di Caprio, preferably a recent one and if possible, with a lot of action and humour. Search result: ‘The Wolf of Wallstreet’. All input leads to a certain object.
Simply put: Spotify and Netflix give their music and movies labels such as a title, a year, a genre, etc. Such labels are called metadata, which means information characteristics. Such characteristics can also be allocated to documents by organisations.
By labelling or adding metadata to documents, they are quick and easy to find. This enables organisations to create all kinds of meaningful statements to provide them with much insight. The image below shows how metadata provides organisations with more insight.
Many organisations are still working with folder structures that make information finding searches difficult. This in turn leads to document duplications that result in dark data.
M-Files is the information management system that offers unique powerful metadata options. This allows organisations to retrieve documents and information in a flash, to create dynamic insight and reports in no time at all.
Would you like to see this system live at some stage? If so, please register for The M-Files webinar to see for yourself how company documents and information can be traced by the same methods used by Netflix and Spotify.