The ever increasing growth of business data within companies offers challenges to both IT managers and line managers in terms of managing it and analysing it. The task of converting endless streams of data into something which is useable and actionable in order to take decisions, create solutions and leverage the data as both a strategic asset, and in certain cases a competitive advantage, has become a priority for many enterprises. Information management is now coming under the focus of strategic planning and quality processes in order to assure both the quality and availability of critical information within the enterprise.
Many enterprises now treat their data as a strategic asset and wish to see their information management procedures and protocols mirror those of any other business asset. This means effective management, storage and protection must be provided and the integrity and quality of critical data must be maintained at all times. Just as well-managed and quality information available at the right time and to the right people can be one of the best business weapons, the mismanagement of information or poor quality data can represent a severe disadvantage for a business.
It is critical that enterprises form a comprehensive information management strategy with regards to critical business data and while it is challenging to try and quantify the ROI of enterprise data management schemes, it is maybe easier to measure how poor management of data within a company can affect key policy or strategy decisions and ultimately bottom line results.
This should provide top management with the incentive to implement enterprise data management initiatives and form a foundation for strategic data management based on the common ground between data stakeholders to form a realistic and effective solution.
Information can be a significant element of an enterprise’s intellectual property and as such needs to be handled with just as much care as any other such asset. Good information management strategies can provide advantages in terms of production efficiency through to quality assurance and even reflect in product capabilities. As more companies delve into the analytics of their data in order to meet customer needs, they are realising that much of the data previously stored has to be converted into actionable information and made available to the right people in order to take advantage of it.
While enterprise data management is still relatively new, it no doubt has a lot of potential to transform the information management operations and effectiveness of an enterprise. However, while there seems to be agreement between interested parties on the need for it, the task of implementing such strategies seems to be less easy to define and deploy.
One possible solution is rather than trying to conceptualise an enterprise wide information management initiative from the outset, select a specific business critical system or process which is agreed could be more efficient, such as longer than average lead times on a particular component or product, or budget overruns in a certain area, and quantify in financial terms how poor data management or poor quality data may have affected the system or process. By implementing a data management initiative to tackle that particular problem and involving all parties such as line managers and IT managers from the start of the process, it can be possible to build up both expertise and knowledge regarding how to tackle such information management initiatives as well as help establish repeatable protocols and tools to help drive such data derived improvements across the enterprise in other targeted areas.
Establishing priorities for information management within the enterprise is essential as well as increasing the visibility of the successes achieved. Enterprise data management is possibly one of the most important steps a business can take in terms of improving efficiency of operations and strategic decision making for the future. A coherent strategy for information management involving all stakeholders will allow a business to deal with, and extract much more value from, the ever increasing flood of information.
Nathan Morgan has been a IT professional for 14 years. His work is currently focused on Linux servers. He has encryption experience including the deployment of True Crypt and similar packages, and detailed knowledge of document scanning solutions to transform off-line archives into accessible digital data.