Friday, July 23, 2021

Information Requirement

It's the value (often undervalued) of corporate information as a resource and defining how it should be used strategically to best business advantage and unlock the collective potential.

Information Systems are the backbone and provide valuable information for business growth and improve organizational responsiveness. Information is the key ingredient of innovative solutions to today’s complex business problems. Digital organizations must manage information effectively, and bring to the table innovative solutions that meet customers’ needs while reducing the cost to market. In fact, information is one of the most intensive pieces of the innovation puzzle. 

Business management professionals and information management professionals need to work closely for making seamless mapping and alignment of different levels of requirement by asking thought-provoking questions in order to manage innovation more as a science rather than as serendipity.

Does every information requirement have related business requirements for creating, updating, and deleting/archiving: Information Management is the management with knowledge as a focus, involving the use of technologies and processes with the aim of capturing growth opportunities and optimizing the differentiated business value. It helps to uncover the interdependence and hyper-connection of business nature and bring to the table innovative solutions that meet customers’ needs. Information management is an integral piece of innovation management, so information managers need to ponder whether every information requirement has related business requirements for driving the healthy information management cycle.

As in many companies, the IT-business gap is a reality. There are a variety of gaps between what the business needs and what information management can deliver. Without the specified business requirement, information management becomes the nail looking for the hammer. If information management does not listen, question, or understand carefully, they perhaps develop wrong assumptions in terms of stakeholder requirements, they would make mistakes in the technological sense and lose buy-in. Ambiguous requirements cause a lot of rework very late in the quality cycle. Misread business requirements with “lost in translation” symptoms leads to miscommunication, waste of resources, time, and talent, causing information management failure which makes innovation effort suffer, and business management dysfunctioning.

Does every functional requirement have a corresponding information requirement: Nowadays, innovation management is often a cross-functional collaborative effort. Every function has a role in it. But without quality information ingredients, business management cannot have comprehensive views with clear understanding of how customer-centric approaches enhance the business model and extend profitability in a tangible way. It is a persistent and pervasive problem that demands an ongoing reviewing process to ensure that business requirement and information requirement mapping effectively and efficiently together. Thus, business management needs to improve their information fluency by allowing information flow across the functional boundary, being able to identify critical pieces of information for connecting wider dots to spur innovation and accelerating idea validation such as facts about business ideas, and implementation methodology & technology, etc.

Unfortunately, the majority of organizations still get stuck at the lower level of information management maturity which is proportional to their enterprise’s maturity level. Data is in dissimilar systems which are being migrated, converted or just staying out due to budget and time constraints. Information is overloaded, but isolated, lacking an integral management approach to consolidate, refine it into business insight to let the right people make information-based decisions for doing innovation effectively. So business managers need to clarify information requirements for the critical innovation initiatives that they kick in, break down silo thinking and enforce data-based cross-functional communication and collaboration. The goal is to generate massive business value by using or reusing information assets effectively

Does an enterprise system have related information requirements and functional requirements? Enterprise system is not closed, but an ever-evolving entity that needs to ensure information is the glue to interwoven all critical business factors such as people, process, technology, as well as connect into the outer business environment to generate novelty all the time. At this level, business executives need to build interdisciplinary expertise, become information savvy, collect both information requirements and functional requirements, and even more requirements from varying stakeholders, to get the full picture of strategic concerns of trends and risks of their business, industry as well as diverse geographical locations. As a matter of fact, enterprise system requirements development and management, with the initiative backed up by executive sponsorship and commitment become the blueprint to make a practical strategy.

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 and finding useful unifications of information/knowledge structures that are system oriented. This would increase common understanding and communication in the enterprise. Keep in mind, information is the gold mine every organization digs in, but there is risk in it. If you draw a boundary that encompasses all people that could or want to access information, then you'd need to take care of risk management by dealing with velocity, variety, viability, and value accordingly. The constraint is in getting all of the systems up to current technology to snap into an enterprise information strategy. The key point is to make sure the 'system-of-interest' is defined to establish the boundary and the properties that interact with the environment. And the goal is to shift a process-driven company into a people-centric powerhouse with real-time intelligence, ideally for catalyzing innovation.

Information is not for its own sake, the key requirement of any level introduced above is to find problems that it can solve; rather than show up with a solution and then find a problem. So organizational management needs to concentrate on the business information requirements that support the company’s growth. It's the value (often undervalued) of corporate information as a resource and defining how it should be used strategically to best business advantage and unlock the collective potential.


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