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Every organization is now a digital business. Its information is an asset and its digital currency. Business leaders responsible for managing enterprise information have to focus on its life cycle, which is extremely critical for the success of the business. Information flows feed every business process. You can’t impact the customer’s digital experience without digital information. Knowledge workers can’t do their jobs without the right access to the right information at the time they need it. Process automation cannot happen without digital information. This is digital transformation, and information is inextricably linked to it.

Information management is by far one of the most critical things enterprises have to get right or face negative consequences to the business. While information is the digital currency of every organization, it is also tied to people—the lifeblood of every enterprise or organization. The massive amounts of data that is generated between people across each line of business and their respective processes represent a potential treasure trove of information, insights, and a key source of innovation. So, there is a relationship factor between people, processes, technology, the information flow, and its meaning that helps to determine the value of that digital currency.

Getting insights and value from enterprise data
"Big Data" has now become a prime area of focus as organizations try to analyze and gain insights from the large volumes of data submerging the business. That large volume includes both structured and unstructured data. There is a continuum that includes people, processes, technology, information, and their relationship to each other. Artificial intelligence (AI) and offshoots, such as machine learning and deep learning, have emerged as methods to understand these relationships, gain intelligence from data, and support predictive and prescriptive analytics to enable better decision-making.

In speaking with small, medium, and large businesses, we hear them express over and over again that compliance, risk, cost savings, and improved productivity are among key drivers for information management. Business leaders intimate that managing and getting value out of the large amounts of enterprise data is a key priority.

Information is an asset
One of the key aspects of digital disruption and the ensuing digital transformation taking place is the underlying fact that information is an asset. Information is, in fact, your greatest asset from a business perspective. Information-enabling every part of the business allows enterprises to scale digitally in a way they could never before. Effective management of information, however, requires a strategic approach that puts people and people processes at the center.

Managing information is a delicate dance of collecting, sharing, and monetizing that information where it makes sense. It is what can be derived from information that is key here. There are transformative insights hidden in enterprise data, but organizations have to know where their data is to glean insights from it. So, enterprises need visibility into their data, access, and the ability to take action. Information management helps enterprises break down the massive amounts of data into a manageable form that is easy to understand.

A major part of information management is archiving and storage management to ensure accessibility and proper governance. These are key concerns that have to be addressed. The imperative is that enterprises have to manage information like the asset it is. This leads to the technology component from a strategy perspective. Enterprise planners have to evaluate solutions and services that support information management, including the full information life cycle. Planners should evaluate leaders such as Veritas and EMC (being acquired by Dell to add to its own information management solutions).

The takeaway
Information management involves every area of the business. It calls for effective strategies to foster better business alignment. For example, business units such as information technology (IT) and marketing will need alignment as all business strategies are based around the customer experience. A true digital business has to focus on consistency and availability of information, with the end goal of enhancing the customer experience. Therefore, information has to be in context as well as be consistently captured and managed. It has to be real and people-centric enough to empower contextual business decisions.

David Mario Smith is Founder and Principal Analyst at InFlow Analysis. Mr. Smith is a Gartner veteran of over 16 years and an IT industry professional with 20 years of experience in the collaboration and workplace technology markets. For more information, visit http://inflowanalysis.com or follow him on Twitter @DaveMario.
 

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