Like all business practices, information management incorporates controlling, planning, implementation, and other general management concepts. It also includes data management, which is the development and application of policies and tools to enable data to move between stages during its lifecycle.
Principles of Information Management
The best-known principles of information management are those included in the Information Management Body of Knowledge. This framework categorizes information management skills into four process areas and six knowledge areas.
The process areas are:
- Day-to-day operations, guiding improvements based on process updates.
- Information assessment to drive process improvement.
- Adding new software and hardware to improve system capacity.
- Managing performance to make sure operations are at top capacity.
The knowledge areas are:
- Software and hardware (IT)
- Business data and database analysis tools
- Information systems meeting the needs of your business
- Assessing business information to make decisions
- Business strategy
- Business advantages provided by the data
Information Management Strategies
IM strategy is the master plan guiding a company forward, more specifically making sure that the right people have the right information at the right time. IM strategies guide businesses to improve their processes, keep their IM practices in sync, and prepare for the future. They can include data on the business’ current status, future goals and plans, plans to acquire new resources, specific steps to achieve goals, assign responsibility for reporting and implementing these measures, and develop policies and processes for interacting with business departments.
Elements of Information Management in Business
IM has four key elements: data, technology, people, and processes. Data is very important because it’s used by every element throughout the organization. Technology refers to any business software used as well as any physical items storing data. The users and creators of data and information – people – are the third element. Finally, “process” refers to the rules determining the measures for storing and securing data, access levels, and timeframes for deleting or archiving.
Best Practices for Business Information Management
By looking at the business reality, strategies, and priorities, we can make sure we apply the best data control practices to meet industry standards. Below are several widely acknowledged practices that businesses should try to emulate.
Centralized Data Management
Data management and governance is the overall management of the usability, availability, integrity, and security of a business’ data. Data management programs typically include a set of defined procedures, a governing body, and plans to implement the procedures. The absence of a centralized data management strategy leads a business’ customers and products to have multiple values and attributes across databases.
This complicates data sharing or data linkage among value activities. It becomes impossible to access key performance and correlation data for decision making and companies face a very real challenge in terms of their ability to stay competitive. Especially with regard to large data sets, using real-time analytic databases designed for high-speed analytics like Druid Architecture is highly recommended.
Ease of Use
An IM system should be user-friendly. Staff and managers will get frustrated with a poorly designed user interface and might find alternative ways to share information, thereby failing to adhere to security protocols. The earlier usability concerns are addressed, the fewer updates the system will require going forward.
User needs go hand in hand with ease of use. It’s important to observe the environment to find out what users expect and need. Asking them directly is encouraged. Your business should use systems that can learn, evolve, and change as user needs do.
Enterprise-Level Planning and Design
Managing IM processes on the enterprise level will build interoperability and sharing into the program. This might not be achieved if departments are allowed to manage their own processes.
Proper Data Categorization
This is best attained through metadata, making it possible to compare and combine information from contrasting systems. Metadata can also facilitate data access control. Creation date, categories, and language are all examples of metadata. Making sure that metadata is current and correct supports security policies and makes information more usable.
What to Look for in Business IM Software
On a final note, here are a few tips on the best business software features. Your software should have a simple, easy to use interface. You don’t need a plethora of tools and boxes. The software should let you decide what data to store, not dictate your decision. It shouldn’t require you to spend hours poring over manuals. It should let you search, list, change and organize office information fast and easily. It should be ready to offer access rights control, advanced filters, and other powerful features whenever you need them.
Business software should be fully customizable in order to categorize, store, and manage all types of data. It should be possible to use as both a personal information manager and for the purposes of small business data management.