Principles of Efficient Information Management

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Action Item: Get back to basics in records management and understand the clear distinctions between content management and records management. Do the homework to understand the value of having effective records program built on tried-and-true principles. Use these principles as the discipline of your information governance program. Wikibon is a professional community solving technology and business problems through an open source sharing of free advisory knowledge. Become a Member! Technology Events.

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Originating Author: Michael Versace. Most information management technology investments have also been reactive, stopgap measures designed to address a specific problem, such as electronic discovery. Massive adoption of collaboration tools including Sharepoint, the web, and social media has blurred the distinction between content and records and increased risks associated with over retention, information loss, legal and regulatory compliance. End-to-end information management automation across electronic and physical records does not exist.

If it did, it would allow the enterprise to address record keeping principles intelligently and declare, classify, store, secure, retain, discover, and ultimately dispose of content based on policy and automated, defensible enforcement. Poorly architected solutions have turned information assets into liabilities — systems that once satisfied basic requirements laid out decades ago buckle under the increased pressure for interoperability, scalability, end-to-end security, and discoverability. This predicament has fielded unsustainable solutions along with upward spiraling integration costs.

Progress on establishing an information management strategy, which is essential for mid-size to large enterprises, has been extreme slow.

Information principles - The National Archives

Records managers cannot get the e-discovery monkey off their backs. Even in , records managers will be consumed with managing e-discovery risk leaving little time for strategic records management programs and activities. Make all business managers accountable for information governance and the records management principles, policies, and costs. Integrity - Construct an IGP so that records generated or managed by or for the organization have a reasonable and suitable guarantee of authenticity and reliability.

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Identify technologies and processes that can provide suitable and reasonable guarantees. To do this of course requires an organization to first define and classify the difference between official records and business information. Protection - The IGP must ensure a reasonable level of protection to records and information that are private, confidential, privileged, secret, or essential to business continuity. Information management IM concerns a cycle of organizational activity: the acquisition of information from one or more sources, the custodianship and the distribution of that information to those who need it, and its ultimate disposition through archiving or deletion.

This cycle of organisational involvement with information involves a variety of stakeholders , including those who are responsible for assuring the quality , accessibility and utility of acquired information; those who are responsible for its safe storage and disposal ; and those who need it for decision making. Stakeholders might have rights to originate, change, distribute or delete information according to organisational information management policies.

Information management embraces all the generic concepts of management, including the planning , organizing , structuring, processing , controlling , evaluation and reporting of information activities, all of which is needed in order to meet the needs of those with organisational roles or functions that depend on information.

These generic concepts allow the information to be presented to the audience or the correct group of people. After individuals are able to put that information to use, it then gains more value. Information management is closely related to, and overlaps with, the management of data , systems , technology , processes and — where the availability of information is critical to organisational success — strategy. This broad view of the realm of information management contrasts with the earlier, more traditional view, that the life cycle of managing information is an operational matter that requires specific procedures, organisational capabilities and standards that deal with information as a product or a service.

In the s, the management of information largely concerned matters closer to what would now be called data management : punched cards , magnetic tapes and other record-keeping media , involving a life cycle of such formats requiring origination, distribution, backup, maintenance and disposal.

Forces Shaping Management

At this time the huge potential of information technology began to be recognised: for example a single chip storing a whole book , or electronic mail moving messages instantly around the world, remarkable ideas at the time. An understanding of the technologies involved, an ability to manage information systems projects and business change well, and a willingness to align technology and business strategies all became necessary. In the transitional period leading up to the strategic view of information management, Venkatraman a strong advocate of this transition and transformation, [5] proffered a simple arrangement of ideas that succinctly brought together the managements of data , information, and knowledge see the figure argued that:.


This is often referred to as the DIKAR model: Data, Information, Knowledge, Action and Result, [6] it gives a strong clue as to the layers involved in aligning technology and organisational strategies, and it can be seen as a pivotal moment in changing attitudes to information management. The recognition that information management is an investment that must deliver meaningful results is important to all modern organisations that depend on information and good decision-making for their success.

It is commonly believed that good information management is crucial to the smooth working of organisations, and although there is no commonly accepted theory of information management per se , behavioural and organisational theories help. Following the behavioural science theory of management, mainly developed at Carnegie Mellon University and prominently supported by March and Simon, [8] most of what goes on in modern organizations is actually information handling and decision making. One crucial factor in information handling and decision making is an individual's ability to process information and to make decisions under limitations that might derive from the context: a person's age, the situational complexity, or a lack of requisite quality in the information that is at hand — all of which is exacerbated by the rapid advance of technology and the new kinds of system that it enables, especially as the social web emerges as a phenomenon that business cannot ignore.

And yet, well before there was any general recognition of the importance of information management in organisations, March and Simon [8] argued that organizations have to be considered as cooperative systems , with a high level of information processing and a vast need for decision making at various levels. Instead of using the model of the " economic man ", as advocated in classical theory [9] they proposed " administrative man " as an alternative, based on their argumentation about the cognitive limits of rationality.

Additionally they proposed the notion of satisficing , which entails searching through the available alternatives until an acceptability threshold is met - another idea that still has currency. In addition to the organisational factors mentioned by March and Simon, there are other issues that stem from economic and environmental dynamics. There is the cost of collecting and evaluating the information needed to take a decision, including the time and effort required.

In particular, established organizational rules and procedures can prevent the taking of the most appropriate decision, leading to sub-optimum outcomes. According to the Carnegie Mellon School an organization's ability to process information is at the core of organizational and managerial competency , and an organization's strategies must be designed to improve information processing capability [15] and as information systems that provide that capability became formalised and automated, competencies were severely tested at many levels.

This environment consists of three interrelated dimensions which continuously interact with individuals, organizations, and systems. These dimensions are the physical, informational, and cognitive.


Venkatraman has provided a simple view of the requisite capabilities of an organisation that wants to manage information well — the DIKAR model see above. He also worked with others to understand how technology and business strategies could be appropriately aligned in order to identify specific capabilities that are needed. Bytheway has collected and organised basic tools and techniques for information management in a single volume.

Such an information portfolio as this shows how information can be gathered and usefully organised, in four stages:. Stage 1 : Taking advantage of public information : recognise and adopt well-structured external schemes of reference data, such as post codes, weather data, GPS positioning data and travel timetables, exemplified in the personal computing press.

Shirky provides an overview of these two approaches.

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  8. Stage 3 : Sifting and analysing: in the wider world the generalised ontologies that are under development extend to hundreds of entities and hundreds of relations between them and provide the means to elicit meaning from large volumes of data. Structured data in databases works best when that structure reflects a higher-level information model — an ontology, or an entity-relationship model.

    Stage 4 : Structuring and archiving: with the large volume of data available from sources such as the social web and from the miniature telemetry systems used in personal health management , new ways to archive and then trawl data for meaningful information. Map-reduce methods, originating from functional programming , are a more recent way of eliciting information from large archival datasets that is becoming interesting to regular businesses that have very large data resources to work with, but it requires advanced multi-processor resources.

    The Information Management Body of Knowledge was made available on the world wide web in [31] and sets out to show that the required management competencies to derive real benefits from an investment in information are complex and multi-layered. Even with full capability and competency within the six knowledge areas, it is argued that things can still go wrong. The problem lies in the migration of ideas and information management value from one area of competency to another.

    Summarising what Bytheway explains in some detail and supported by selected secondary references : [37]. There are always many ways to see a business, and the information management viewpoint is only one way. It is important to remember that other areas of business activity will also contribute to strategy — it is not only good information management that moves a business forwards. Corporate governance , human resource management , product development and marketing will all have an important role to play in strategic ways, and we must not see one domain of activity alone as the sole source of strategic success.

    On the other hand, corporate governance, human resource management, product development and marketing are all dependent on effective information management, and so in the final analysis our competency to manage information well, on the broad basis that is offered here, can be said to be predominant. Organizations are often confronted with many information management challenges and issues at the operational level , especially when organisational change is engendered. The novelty of new systems architectures and a lack of experience with new styles of information management requires a level of organisational change management that is notoriously difficult to deliver.

    As a result of a general organisational reluctance to change, to enable new forms of information management, there might be for example : a shortfall in the requisite resources, a failure to acknowledge new classes of information and the new procedures that use them, a lack of support from senior management leading to a loss of strategic vision, and even political manoeuvring that undermines the operation of the whole organisation.

    Information Management

    In early work, taking an information processing view of organisation design, Jay Galbraith has identified five tactical areas to increase information processing capacity and reduce the need for information processing. This brings together the vertical hierarchical view of an organisation and the horizontal product or project view of the work that it does visible to the outside world.

    The creation of a matrix organization is one management response to a persistent fluidity of external demand, avoiding multifarious and spurious responses to episodic demands that tend to be dealt with individually. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.