Sunday, August 27, 2017

CIOs as “Chief Information Officer”: The Intrinsic, Extrinsic and Epistemic Aspects of Information and Knowledge Management

A well-designed and relatively simplified information/knowledge solutions bound to unlock the enterprise knowledge, to turn a downward spiral into an upward spiral.

Information nowadays is the invaluable resource and asset of organizations, and information assets need to be managed successfully. Back to fundamentals, CIOs are Chief Information Officers, and one of the most important responsibilities for IT is to ensure the right people getting the right information, extract to sufficient knowledge and unique insight to help them make the right decision at the right time and location. But more specifically, what is Information Management theoretically, philosophically, strategically and tactically, and what are the intrinsic, extrinsic and epistemic aspects of information management?

The intrinsic value of information management: Information Management makes information available and useful for growing business or delighting customers. Information Management is the overall process of aligning the use of information through the management practices: What data you have, in what format and the location and method it is held? And how to refine information into knowledge and business insight. Information is the lifeblood of the enterprise, but if not properly managed, it becomes at worst case a liability and at best case an underutilized asset. Information in itself isn't power, it’s the ability to seamlessly access, analyze and utilized data, information strategy as the key ingredient of business strategy which enables executives to make a data-based decision and build up an analytics-driven culture cross organization. Both information and knowledge are not equal to insight, but they are the foundation to capture insight and allow people to make the right decisions. Thus, the goal of information management is to ensure information ASSURANCE -information held is safe, secure and processes are legislatively compliant, and EXPLOITATION- collaboratively enabled and fully support the business objectives. The intrinsic value of information management is to turn the most valuable information and knowledge assets into corporately owned assets and improve business decision effectiveness and business competency.

The extrinsic value of information management: Information is the most invaluable asset in business today, besides people. Managing information and knowledge is a human problem and not just a technological problem. Information Management has an expansive impact on the economy, politics, culture, and human behavior. The tricky bit with information is that, depending on the level of granularity and aggregation, you can use it for multiple purposes. Not only is the information interesting economic goods, but the value is also difficult to determine. Knowledge Transfer allows people to understand new topics and get access to knowledge. It is about refining data into useful facts and unique insight. The extrinsic value of information management is multifold. As we all know knowledge is power, information and knowledge management is rather like climbing a mountain, gaining new and wider views, discovering unusual dots and build unexpected connections between our starting points and its rich environment, the digital ecosystem, to spark innovation, broaden varying perspectives, advocate the scientific methodology, and advance the knowledge-based economy.

The epistemic value of information management: Knowledge by itself is nothing if you do not understand how to apply it and make it useful. Information can either enforce cognitive understanding or sometimes misleading or cause distraction due to incomplete information or false knowledge.  Information and knowledge are path-dependent. That means, to discover an opportunity, you should have previous knowledge in the field to be able to get recognized. Information is often available in data; knowledge is often inside the minds of employees/experts. Knowledge basically involves the human factor and capturing the benefit of someone's experience, then applying it and making it available to broader and broader audiences who can benefit from that combined intellectual asset of information and experience. Information is contextual, and knowledge can also be outdated soon. Thus, it is important to know how to survive and even thrive in today’s digital era with information overloading. The epistemic value of information/ knowledge management is to develop the knowledge workforce and build the culture of learning agility. Individually, you need to build your own trustful and diverse resources for absorbing knowledge, learning to activate and use your own mental band-stop filters. It is amazing how you can work through arguments and filter through information when you relax your mind and share with someone. You need to not only assimilate the existing knowledge, more importantly, but you also have to keep updating knowledge, and create the new knowledge and become the knowledge value creator to benefit your organization and our society.

Knowledge is more intangible, complex and dynamic compared to the physical asset. Information Management and Knowledge Management should be managed more holistically as a corporate asset if done properly. Digital knowledge management will not only enable information flow and knowledge flow, but more importantly, it will empower the mind flow, and transform the modern business from static to dynamic, from short-term driven to long-term focus; from inside out operation oriented to outside-in people-centric. A well-designed and relatively simplified information/knowledge solutions bound to unlock the enterprise knowledge, to turn a downward (cost efficiency) spiral into an upward (business growth) spiral, the challenge is to get beyond the tipping point where the power is unlocked, and unleash the full digital potential of the business.


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