Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Digital Master Tuning #101: Information Management as Differentiator between Digital Master and Digital Laggard

Information Management is all about having the right people to have the right information to make right decisions at the right time.

Information is the most valuable commodity individuals and organizations produce in the digital environment in which they currently function. Nowadays, organizations large or small, collect an enormous amount of data. Data is a raw material, information is processed data, information only has a value when it is needed. When businesses manipulate information in meaningful ways which give you something to interpret and utilize, then you have established the value from the information you get. Therefore, Information Management is a key differentiator between digital masters and digital laggards.

Organizations need to have Information Management strategy as an integral element in the business strategy: It determines the strategic objectives, their risk appetite for achieving them, identifies and assesses the risks and make sure it’s all joined up. Information is a key enabler to help you achieve your strategic business objectives – having the right information to make an informed management decision to develop the right products for serving the right customers. Information Management has many pitfalls: The volume of data collected is used for market evaluation, customer resource management, and enterprise resource management coupled with the real world requirements that support and facilitate the overall operational management, retards the business community’s capability to convert that data into useful and valuable information. Information is also something that can hinder the achievement of strategic objectives, having it unavailable, lost, stolen, or compromised. Unstructured data based decision-making by senior managers has been poor because of the intrinsic value of information reduces decision effectiveness.

IT stands out as a value-added function by managing information effectively and efficiently: It can abstract business and customer insight from explosive information, and bring to the table innovative solutions that meet customers’ needs, while reducing the cost to market, without the sacrifice of strategic goals and strategies invoked on it by its business partners. If IT does it well, it will achieve high business value. But often the problems most organizations have are (1) not understanding what raw material they have to play with (poor information management); (2) not applying worthwhile evaluation to it to reveal the inherent value, but mostly (3) not understanding why they should do these things in the first priority.

Changing circumstances will likely dictate the value of information associated with that situation: Changing products and processes will dictate the value of information associated with them. One of the unique, wonderful characteristics of data is that it's not depleted when consumed. The argument that information is somehow different because it has no value "apart from a goal, a product, or a transaction between individuals." This is true of any asset. It can increase in value once it is used. However, value depends partly on the perception of quality/usage/satisfaction. Not only is information interesting economic goods, but the value is also difficult to determine, it could be utilitarian, hedonistic, extrinsic, intrinsic, social, practical epistemic etc. The effort of valuing information independent of its association to the value of related tangibles seems a difficult, if not futile, exercise. Perhaps we should first work to identify how information is associated with the valued tangibles of our businesses; our products and our resources; like information flows in our processes for example, then its own value will become readily apparent and quantifiable by association. There's a difference between the potential value of an asset, its realized value (when consumed), and its probable value (accounting value). Understanding and measuring these differences is the first step in getting organizations on the road to closing these gaps. Potential value all depends on how the information will be used again in the future and this is often exceptionally uncertain. Information may never be used again or it may be used multiple times. Unless you can predict how it might be used again for tangible gain, it is difficult to say what, if any, potential value, it has.

Information Managers have to push hard to sell ´being IM proactive´ to avoid being reactive: Information is the most invaluable asset in business today, besides people. The tricky bit with information is that, depending on the level of granularity and aggregation, you can use it for multiple purposes. Policies and procedures would be the overhead type of information whereas customer, sales, inventory, and market data would be revenue, producers. Quite often, information is not tangible enough to feel any need to worry about Information Management. It is only when an event of consequence happens that they wake up and realize that IM gets the proper attention. Not finding the info needed to clinch a deal is a good wake up call to focus on IM. They will assume that the information is confirmed data somewhere along the way. The IM process is lacking the notation of where the data came from. When this problem is acknowledged the field of Information Management will become high in demand.

Compared to digital laggards, high-performing organizations can manage two most invaluable assets in business well: People and Information. Information Management is all about having the right people to have the right information to make right decisions at the right time. Given this assertion, there is no limit to the value of information in our economy or better stated, in today’s digital business ecosystem. And information Management is the key differentiator between digital leaders and laggards, high-performing organizations, and mediocre companies.

Digitalization is like a flywheel, and Digital Masters are the one riding above it. Surf more Information about Digital Master:


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