The three pillars to stabilise data assets in an era of content chaos


Digital Distinction will be central to the continued success of established financial institutions growing via acquisitions and competing against the new wave of digital native companies

While digital transformation projects are already underway in the financial services sector, many businesses are still being left with masses of legacy data. According to M-Files, a global leader in information management, unless serious steps are taken to handle legacy data, many will continue to suffer from content chaos.

Ville Somppi, Vice President of Industry Solutions at M-Files, stated: “This may sound counter intuitive but over the past few years digital transformation although essential, has left many organisations drowning in data instead of a cure all as promised. For many in financial services, the single most important way to attract new business will be through ‘digital distinction’, something that is upper mind for many in the industry.

“There has to be a better way for financial services organisations to stabilise their data, enabling them in turn to power efficiencies, smoothen potential M&A projects and create that digital distinction so many are looking for. We see three core pillars that any business needs to look at.”

  1. Access

A typical issue facing many businesses and departments after a merge is that of legacy systems. Access to all systems might not be available to those in need and the institutional knowledge of how that data was organised is often a casualty of M&A, as staff are moved or leave the business. 

The first step in taking control of that legacy data is to have universal access regardless of the repository. By using repository neutral federated access, legacy data can stay where it is while allowing for a smarter and more deliberate data migration effort.

  1. Context

For years businesses have relied on static folder-based structures to solve and explain the classification and history of a document. But as data keeps piling up and businesses continue to evolve, this traditional and static way of managing information no longer serves the needs of the knowledge workers. When searching for information you should not need to know or remember where a document is stored but simply define what the document is about, what is it related to or who has last worked on it.

This metadata driven approach can be applied across repositories and legacy data, tagging content with more context, and dramatically reducing search times as you gain a full 360-degree view of your data. The same approach can be expanded to apply business rules and actions based on the metadata of the document, such as reviews, permissions, or retention schedules.

  1. Automation 

Having access to all your data and being able to organise it based on end-user role or business context, enables smart use of automation. AI and workflow automation can help minimise human error and mitigate risk in regulated industries such as financial services and in their compliance driven processes and protocols. This will have a profound impact, driving efficiencies through the entire business.

Streamlining business processes whilst alleviating the burden from staff and enabling them to focus on more skilled requirements will help companies ensure compliance and deliver not only improved staff satisfaction, but an enhanced customer experience.

“We believe that those businesses who use these simple pillars will enjoy efficiencies, deliver smooth M&A and, given they no longer live with content chaos, be able to make a truly distinctive impact on the market. Furthermore according to a commissioned study by Forrester Research, businesses adopting this approach can expect to see a 40% increase on productivity and a 270% return on investment.

“Put your data assets in context with the use of metadata, drive automation with help of AI and ensure easy access to all systems and legacy structures through repository neutrality. Businesses may be facing very choppy waters, so your data needs to work with you, to mitigate risk and empower your growth,” concluded Somppi.


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