Embracing Information Management as a Discipline
Information Management (IM) is a foundation upon which companies are forging competitive advantage.
Consider attracting customers with the savings potential of telematics and the claim savings opportunities it creates. It’s an absolute game changer in the auto insurance industry and it’s based on data. Lose, mismanage or incorrectly interpret telematics data and the advantage is lost.
Netflix, Amazon, EBay and many others large and small combine information gleaned from viewing and browsing behavior with product information, often with metrics specifically developed for the cross-marketing function. These data sets combine intelligently to offer customized promotions. Miscapture or mislabel this data at peril.
Health insurance companies routinely analyze customer health records, correlating granular statistics about patient conditions to outcomes. Green energy systems can increase output with minute adjustments to energy conversion devices like wind turbines. Social media is mined for best times, locations and wording for social networking services posts.
These are just a few examples of new forms of information being put to work to change industries. Current business functions are mostly information-centric as well. Regardless of company size, information management is a differentiator. The vendor community continues to create the “supply” of products to meet the “demand” for data.
IM also happens to be a very dynamic industry. We cannot toss off all new vendors and products as unnecessary. Just as information is expanding in an organization, doubling each year in many, the data stores for collecting the information are also expanding. Appropriately.
Workload division is essential for IM success. Once a workload is understood, it can be placed in the right data store for success.
The enterprise supports information management as a discipline only if:
- It allows for the assimilation of new forms of information management.
- Someone knowledgeable attends to information management architecture – preferably it’s their full-time job.
- You have a cloud strategy. Dealing with the cloud options at product decision time will weigh down the decision and probably cause cloud avoidance.
- You accept open source software. You have learned the organizational skills necessary to work around its shortcomings and challenges and no longer have to disregard this class of software or cloud as an option for new software. Increasingly, it will be seriously cost and function ineffective to ignore the cloud.
- It knows how it moves data. Moving and therefore replicating data throughout the enterprise is here to stay and getting good, organizationally, at a few robust ways to do this, ideally with the right tool, sets up organizations for success.
- It looks to leverage work. Information management work, and the resulting data, can be highly leveraged throughout the organization if it is placed a data store meant for leverage.
- It chooses the right platform for the right workload. Force-fitting all workloads into the same technology because that’s how it’s always been done does not activate the information for necessary success and will limit usage, increase frustration and generally keep the organization from gaining competitive advantage with information.
- The non-IT part of the organization (generally poorly referred to as the “business”) contributes its direction in advance to the technical team that selects platforms so the platform selection is not a fire drill or otherwise suboptimal.
- It enhances data beyond its originating quality if necessary. Data at the point of origination is occasionally ill-fitted for its complete purpose throughout the information architecture. Those companies who monitor and enhance the quality, through automated or manual means, set themselves up for more success with the information.
It does not take longer to do information management right. It does takes knowledge and leadership. You begin to pay, either consciously or unconsciously, for information management mistakes immediately and in perpetuity. Embracing IM as a discipline enables early and often correct decisions around the important asset of information.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Ive been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.