Digital workers are struggling to find information or data needed to effectively perform their jobs, despite their efforts to effectively handle content and minimize redundancy, according to a recent survey by Gartner.

Despite considerable effort to resolve on their own, 47% of workers say they struggle to find the information or data needed to do their jobs and 32% of workers admitted that they make wrong decisions due to a lack of awareness.

Diby Malakar, vice president of product management at Alation, says it was not at all surprising to find so many workers struggling to find the data necessary to do their jobs.

“The first step to achieving a good data culture within a business is to make it easy for all employees to find and understand the right data,” he says. “Still, many modern organizations collect so much data that they have created a complex tangle of data silos without a clear way to find and interact with that data.”

From Malakar’s perspective, it’s all about getting the right data model, noting enterprises have traditionally taken two distinct approaches to solve this issue, a centralized model.

“This creates a top-down system of governance that can be hard to navigate, and a decentralized model, which leads to a wide range of data tools across the organization, creating more data silos and fostering non-compliance,” he says. “The solution is a blend of the two – a federated approach to data.”

This combines top-down governance with delegating access so that users can self-serve, with a centralized approach to search and discovery, glossary, governance rules and policies and collaboration.

The survey of 4,861 full-time employees who use digital technology for work purposes also revealed two-thirds of the respondents agreed better business outcomes could be achieved if IT provided universally accepted and supported applications and devices to get work done.

According to the report, digital workers primarily rely on internal IT support to address technology-related challenges, with the top three preferred methods being live phone, chat and email conversations.

The expertise of the person resolving the issue and the promptness of the resolution were cited as the main reasons for this preference.

This marks a shift from 2020, when workers also favored alternative methods like seeking answers online and consulting with co-workers to resolve their digital technology issues.

Tori Paulman, senior director analyst at Gartner, says workers know that they need help finding information, pointing out that support in finding information is the second most popular motivator for allowing monitoring among respondents to the survey.

“The C-suite should start by understanding where the biggest challenges exist in finding information, especially in critical roles where decisions are made and improve experiences like search and guided attention,” Paulman says.

Paulman adds employee experience (EX) is a team sport and should not be the role of a single leader.

“With more of the day-to-day experience of work digitized than ever before, the CEO most form an approach to EX that includes braided responsibility of HR, IT, facilities and business leadership,” Gartner shares.

Gartner recommends appointing a leader of digital employee experience who is aligned with the value proposition to ensure that digital experiences are in service for the employee performance and productivity, and not at the expense of the employee.

Paulman notes “digitally dexterous” employees make up 12% of the workforce and 82% of these workers say that their organizations tap into their digital skills to a large extent.

“This means that growing and nurturing the number of digitally dexterous workers in your organization is the fastest force multiplier for growth most organizations have at their fingertips today,” Paulman says. “This doesn’t take a new investment in technology, simply a new investment in people and culture.”

Paulman adds CIOs and their peers in HR, facilities and the business must understand what top challenges their workers are facing.

They say despite the survey, fatigue was reported by many of Gartner’s clients, and organizations should pursue identification of major sources of digital work friction.

This could include how frequently workers struggle to find information or data needed to effectively perform a job, make the wrong decisions due to lack of awareness, or receive irrelevant notifications.

Malakar points out making data more reliable and more discoverable will be a considerable boost to enterprise GenAI.

“A publicly trained GenAI model like GPT cannot be trusted as an AI advisor for serious business decisions,” he says. “However, augmenting those models with additional business context will help produce AI content that uses an organization’s lingo and underlying databases.”