Information management is emerging as one of the most important tools for success. Now, more than ever, businesses are investing huge amounts of cash to safeguard and manage information flow. While buildings and other structures can collapse, if the knowledge is intact, empires can be rebuilt.
Consequently, if a business wants to thrive, it must understand how to manage its information. The article has been created with an aim of providing insight into information management. It will mainly focus on the principles that guide information management, which can make or break even the largest organizations on earth.
What Is Information Management?
The information in today’s business organizations comes in both hard copy and electronic form. A business organization needs to be able to handle all the information methodically at all tiers. The information needs to be managed methodically without consideration of its source or format. In simple terms, information management is being able to collect information from one source and delivering it to the right audience.
Managing it means developing a structure and controlling it for the purpose of processing and delivering the information. That sometimes means having controls over who has a right to the information. A good organization should be able to process, store, and deliver the information to the right people at the right time.
Who Needs Information Management the Most?
All organizations today need to have proper information management (IM) if they want to succeed. The reason for this is that all organizations today generate and rely on information to thrive. However, some organizations use it better than others do. Other organizations only use it to support a narrow aspect of their business while others use it to grow their organization and improve their efficiency.
Thus, any organization that wants to improve its efficiency and to grow its value needs information management. If used right, it can become one of the most important strategic weapons for zooming past the competitors. In general, organizations that want to ensure compliance and better customer satisfaction need IM the most.
How Much Is Usually Spent on Information Management?
- Most of the data that accumulates in organizations is poorly managed. Many think of it to be dark data that is of little value to the organization. Managers also poorly store it and it is usually outside the control of the organization. The sheer volume of unstructured data and how fast it can accumulate in the organization is an issue of concern for many organizations.
- Part of the problem is that too many organizations estimate the quality of their data and underestimate the impact that it is having on their performance. In fact, studies show that most organizations have data that is of a lower quality than they think.
- Although some organizations understand that data matters, most are oblivious to its impact on their performance. However, the executives of today are beginning to wake up to the fact that proper IM may be the key to succeeding.
- One of the best examples of how much data affects the effective of organizations is a recent study by TDWI (The Data Warehousing Institute). The study found that poor data management is costing organizations up to 20% of operating revenue. Of interest is that over 80% of the organizations that were part of the study believed that poor data management was having a revenue impact of less than 0.1%.
4 Information Management Principles That Improve Efficiency
Here are some principles that can help an organization cut down on revenue loss because of poor information management:
1. Focus on Adoption
The information management system will only succeed if staff uses it. It is not enough to have the software and the hardware in place. To work, the staff has to participate at all levels of the organization. For instance, the staff has to save important files within the management system and not on personal devices.
Besides that, the front-line staff members have to capture the customer details in the system. If you don’t use it often, the system will not have enough useful data.
2. The System Has to Deliver Tangible Benefits
The IM system should not simply get attention on behind the scenes. It will need to deliver real benefits that will assist with adoption by staff. In most cases, the IM system mainly focuses on improving productivity for the managers. However, these benefits are invisible to other members of the organization.
To achieve this, the system should only target needs or issues that are visible to members of staff in the organization. For instance, improving the call center can have tangible effects on customer service. Thus, while behind the scene changes matter, you need to pair them with other tangible benefits.
3. Strong Leadership Is Necessary
The IM system will only succeed if those at the top provide strong leadership. The first step is to come up with a clear vision of the outcomes you expect. It should describe how it would cause a cultural change in the organization rather than just describing how the system works.
Thus, the leadership must generate a sense of urgency to drive the deployment of the system. If key stakeholders outside the IT area don’t work actively, the IM system is going to fail.
4. Don’t Forget Risk Mitigation
Since organizations are inherently complex, many risks come with the implementation of an information management system. At the onset of the information management strategy, you need to clearly define these risks.
After that, you should identify a clear approach to dealing with each risk.
To the Actions
Implementing an information management system is not going to be easy. However, that does not outweigh the benefits of having one. The article has outlined some of the most important principles of an IM system. Of course, we can say much more can about proper information management.
There are many other aspects of this topic that may require a separate article to exhaustively cover. If you would like to share your thought on this topic, feel free to leave your comments below.