Reducing Information Overload With AI

By: Marc Vontobel

The modern workplace is a robust beast. There are tools, platforms, and software for everything. On average, companies use 75 different technologies and with an increase in employees comes an increase in technologies, leaving larger organizations using 200+ tools in their tech stack. 

As you input countless data points into your respective tools, “important” data is stored to support your organization's needs. The increase in technologies explains why 90 percent of the world's data has been produced in the last two years. But have you ever considered what happens when data continuously increases? It’s information overload.

What is information overload?

It’s the endless keyword searches into your organization's knowledge base and sifting through countless documents, wasting hours a day on information searches that should take minutes. 

It’s experiencing deja-vu because you’ve seen 30 variations of the same document, many of which are now outdated and don't provide any helpful information.  

It’s the constant notifications and answering the same three questions 200 times because your colleagues know you’re the knowledge holder, but don't know where to access the information.

It’s hitting a dead end, with no solution and no idea whom to ask—even with a surplus of information.

Every working day, you and your colleagues experience symptoms of information overload. It seems to be a modern-day problem, but the term itself dates back to 1964. It originates from Bertram Gross and The Managing of Organizations, where he defined information overload as:

"Information overload occurs when the amount of input to a system exceeds its processing capacity. Decision makers have fairly limited cognitive processing capacity. Consequently, when information overload occurs, it is likely that a reduction in decision quality will occur."

Insights show that organizations are experiencing this today. Inputs exceed processing capacities as organizations use only 32 percent of all data, leaving 68 percent untouched. Employees are overwhelmed by the overload: 62.5 percent of UK employees say the amount of data they receive and process negatively impacts their work; 52 percent of US workers agree the quality of their work decreases because there's not enough time to review information quickly. And workers are making compromised decisions, as 29 percent of employees say they make decisions based on assumptions when they can't find the information and answers they need. 

When dealing with information overload, organizations experience many pain points, from damage to employee experience to decreased productivity companywide. What is the root cause?

What causes information overload in the workplace?

Information overload at work is the result of multiple contributing factors. The most prevalent are growing tech stacks, too much information, a lack of data contextualization, and redundant content and questions. 

Growing tech stacks

Remote and hybrid work have drastically changed the way we work, including the adoption of new and innovative tools—think of Zoom and Teams replacing traditional


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