Friday, November 1, 2013

Do you have Enterprise-Wide Data/Information Strategy

Information is Life Blood in Modern Organization. 

Information is lifeblood in modern businesses today, however, from industry survey; a very real gap exists with just over one-third of respondents having an enterprise-wide information management strategy in place currently. What’s holding these organizations back from building out an enterprise-wide information management strategy? What’s needed to close the gap? Also, keep in mind, data/information strategy needs to be the key element of the IT strategy, which is also an integral component of the overall corporate strategy.           

1. Enterprise-Wide Information/Data Strategy is Critical 

The strategy framework: The best strategies are living and ever-evolving, and when deployed, it should provide the framework for the business going forward. Information in itself isn't power, it’s the ability to seamlessly access, analyze and utilize data. Information strategy as the key ingredient of business strategy can enable executives to make a data-based decision and build up an analytics-driven culture cross organization.

The future state of the business: Information Strategy is critical as it describes the future state (and how to get there) of how an enterprise will leverage information to power its business. But information and its lifecycle are complex, enterprises generally have governance and compliance rules on the information. They want people to be able to find, reuse, publish, re-factor and republish. Information is the lifeblood of the enterprise, but if not properly managed, it becomes at worst case liability and at best case an underutilized asset. An information management strategy can well define the principle, processes and best practices that optimize the value of information while minimizing risk.

An Information Strategy that outlines how an enterprise can achieve important business goals: such as innovation, process efficiency, increased employee productivity, or customer delight through information is well worth investing time in creating. Especially, as the millennial generation continues to permeate the workforce, the challenge will only intensify. It will be those who proactively invest in strategic solutions today will be able to competitively leverage their own information going forward.

The business benefit of Information Strategy: As survey respondents note there are real benefits to having a comprehensive enterprise-wide information management strategy in place such as:
• Enables better data access and analysis by breakdown the silos. 
• Reduces costs and increases efficiencies
• Increases IT alignment with the business

2. The Three Constraints

There are a couple of ‘constraints’ in an organization that seems to hold the business back from a holistic data strategy. Indeed, such constraints may become the very reasons why organizations need to craft their information strategy:

The first constraint is the priority setting: The technology leaders are starved for resources. The lack of resources and focus on expanding their business revenue takes precedence to projects like an enterprise data strategy- a strategy which does not show up on the bottom line or immediately drives top line growth. This is a short-sighted view, but a view which shows the gap in understanding strategy for mid to long-term business growth.

The second is the consumerization of IT. The concept that SAAS or cloud systems are instantaneous solutions to an organization’s business challenges. This concept is fragmenting information, creating an even bigger challenge in addressing an enterprise policy. The idea of moving fast, moving to new technologies to be flexible and responsible puts you back to the first reason, time, and resources for increasingly diverse information. IT consumerization is one of the biggest trends to come along, but it shouldn't be led and handled with ignorance of what I.T. is fully concerned such as integration, governance, risk management, etc.

The third is that most organizations are in transitions: Data is in dissimilar systems which are being migrated, converted or just staying out due to budget and time constraints. The constraint is in getting all of the systems up to current technology to snap into an enterprise information strategy. The other main obstacle is getting everyone to agree on what is necessary and what the information lifecycles should be.    

But all these constraints above are actually the reasons an organization should have an enterprise-wide information strategy. As a good strategy can provide guidelines for the business’s digital transformation journey.

3. Strategic Alignment 

Strategic partnership and alignment with business goals need to remain at the forefront for IT leaders going forward. Even though budgets pale in comparison, business is heavily dependent upon IT today deliver solutions that help the organization best leverage its assets whether that is technology, information, etc.

What is important in the "Strategic Alignment": "Executive management buy-in" or "executive management's unconditional collaboration" is critical and it takes leadership & management discipline & practices.

Information strategy is a complex domain: The best approach requires to take some leaps of faith setting some of the right things in motion, and delicately balancing and re-balancing the results toward urgent, but hard to predict outcomes.

IT “alignment vs. Integration”: Strategic alignment is important in working to a common goal.  Information strategy also needs to be integrated into the organization's goals and strategy, and allow the organization to measure, serve, deliver, innovate and ultimately excel in returns.

Data and information are central to business today, IT become duty-bound as custodians to steward these assets with purpose; through an active set of guiding policies and principles. A passive approach to enterprise information resources is akin to the abdication of this duty. So the question is not why you should have an information strategy, but what is the appropriate strategy based on your organizational requirements?


Great comments. How you practicalize the ideas becomes a mile apart.

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