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Top 10 Information Management Articles of 2021

December 30, 2021 Information Management
Mike Prokopeak
By Mike Prokopeak

AI, automation and NLP are almost like old hat for many enterprises now. Almost, but not quite. Driven by the need for rapid digital transformation, companies are moving forward aggressively with automation and AI implementations.

But behind the headlines, Reworked readers are grappling with some interesting questions about the future of enterprise information management. Can AI be used ethically? What's the best model for data operations? How do companies relieve the pressure on overtaxed IT departments? And how do they ensure data privacy and security across thousands of distributed endpoints in their corporate networks?

Those topics, among others, continue to shape the dialogue as enterprises turn up the volume on their information flows and integrate more technologies to make the most of it. The top 10 information management articles from 2021 reflect this reality and point to where things are headed.

1. Why Ethical AI Won't Catch on Anytime Soon

There's been a lot of discussion about the use of AI in enterprises and the possibility of building ethical AI strategies. But new research indicates that, even 10 years from today, it is unlikely that ethical AI design will be widely adopted, writes Reworked contributing editor David Roe.

2. How XOps Is Hoping to Unite All the Ops Disciplines Under One Banner

Organizations that get digital transformation right can zoom ahead of the competition. The goal of XOps, which unifies several operations disciplines, is to create an enterprise technology stack that enables automation and reduces the duplication of technology and processes. One other ingredient makes it a key element of the digital workplace, writes David Roe in this explainer. XOps enables data and analytics professionals to operationalize their processes and automation from the beginning rather than as an afterthought.

3. How Digital Transformation Is Driving Low-Code/No-Code Growth

The ongoing shortage of software developers and data scientists has companies scrambling to reduce the strain on IT departments already stressed by the need to support a remote and distributed workforce. Low-code/no-code technology helps bridge this IT gap by automating processes and allowing citizen engineers to develop software and apps without taxing the IT department.

4. Why Companies Are Investing in Natural Language Processing

Natural language processing (NLP) is the automatic manipulation of natural language like speech and text by software. Recent research shows that almost half of businesses are using applications powered by NLP and that one in four businesses plan to begin using NLP technology over the next 12 months. While the size and scope of implementations may vary, the end goal is the same: help humans make better and faster decisions using data, writes David Roe.

5. What's Behind the Explosion of Low-Code and No-Code Applications

Low-code and no-code applications are having a moment. These low impact but high return technologies are quickly becoming the technology of choice for many people in the digital workplace. According to research from Gartner, 70 percent of new applications developed by organizations will use low-code or no-code technologies by 2025, up from less than 25 percent in 2020. That research underscores that the trend is helping enterprises accelerate the pace of development by democratizing how software is being built to include non-IT business users.

6. A 5-Step Approach to Implementing Machine Learning

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are moving from the realm of research into adoption. That adoption offers immense benefits that can provide organizations with a competitive edge — if executed well, writes Reworked contributor Geetika Tandon in this practical guide. Technology adoption requires a pragmatic and collaborative approach driven by agile practices that utilizes trusted data sources, organizational change management, iterative revalidation practices and measurement of the business value.

7. How to Ensure Data Privacy in the Digital Workplace

The speed at which the digital workplace is evolving means operating policies and procedures are in flux. One of the most important of these is data privacy: how to handle the personal, confidential information of customers and employees. Ensuring data privacy isn’t just a nice to have, it's the law — and it's complicated. Reworked contributor Clare Price offers up 10 best practices for ensuring data privacy in the digital workplace.

8. Many Organizations Put Big Data Aside to Focus on Small Data

Much of the buzz around data has been about big data and how organizations are using large datasets to gain an edge. However, due in part to the pandemic, small data, or the use of small datasets, is moving into the spotlight. It's not new, but it has clearly taken a long time for this message to trickle down: small data is useful, too.

9. Robotic Process Automation: Power to the People in 2021

Robotic process automation (RPA) seemed to fit the business needs of the pandemic moment, wrote Reworked contributor Tim Kulp in March 2021. But is it living up to its hype? Market leaders are aware of their products' historical shortcomings and are pushing to grow utility for 2021 and beyond. Tim takes a look at how the RPA market is evolving and offers a few tips to best leverage the newest capabilities.

10. How to Protect Employee Privacy and Ensure Data Security with a Remote Workforce

It was once easy to draw a line between work and home. Employees would commute to the office, sit down at their desks, handle everything they needed to do for the day, leave the office and go home. The shift to remote work blurred those lines. While businesses and employees alike have realized the benefits, significant challenges remain around security and privacy, writes Kaya Ismail.

Bonus Podcast Episode

David Lavenda on How to Overcome Information Overload

It often feels like we're drowning in a sea of meetings, documents, notifications and alerts. And to some degree, that's true. But that doesn't mean nothing can be done about it. Information overload is bad for you — and it's bad for business. Tech executive and historian David Lavenda puts some perspective on the topic and shares how we can better manage the flood of information that comes our way. It's not the first time humanity has grappled with the challenge.

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