IT are NOT Business Information Managers - so stop expecting them to be

Terry Smith, Intraversed

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 2 MINUTES

Glossaries don’t communicate, people do

Often, information management (IM) is left to IT

Why?

The name sounds like it belongs there;
perhaps it has always been there;
IT often like to have control over data management (which is fair enough) and therefore, over the things that require data. While information is what’s created using data, this distinction isn’t clear to most people;
it happens because people don't understand true IM.

Information is used, generated, owned and required by business staff.

It’s only logical and efficient that they should be in charge of managing it.

Try as they might, the best IT can do to manage this information is try to document what they're told by business staff, forming some kind of guideline or framework document.

IT have no control over what actually happens. No power to change what happens. No real capacity to assess the differences in needs and uses of information between business functional areas and corral them into a cohesive and unified best practice structure.

The Alternative

Instead, I suggest an organisation-wide team of business staff be established to govern information creation, use, storage and sharing.

When information is governed by the business staff that use it, issues arising from poorly governed information, like unreliable organisation-wide reporting numbers, can be more effectively identified and resolved.

Here’s an example:
We were engaged by a large government department to map information flow and document issues experienced by business staff.

What we uncovered was massive, unnecessary spend because poor information management meant business staff couldn't get the information they needed (though it existed) from other parts of the department. So they re-created or purchased almost identical information.

What was even more frustrating to staff was that innovation and development opportunities were going unexplored and unrealised because staff couldn’t get information, or get it easily, though it existed. The systems IT had built didn't allow the small differences in need between functional areas to be actioned.

The direct financial cost and the cost of lost opportunity and insight to that government department were substantial.

Had a dedicated team of business staff been in charge of IM, new IT builds, systems and databases would have been seen and contributed to by a broad range of functional area staff, and thus built to allow the potential for leveraging by the whole organisation.

That’s just one example. We’ve experienced many.

Business staff must be in charge of the management of information they use, they're the only ones who truly understand how they use it, what they need from it and the potential for further use.

Need help?

Need to assess your business's current business information governance landscape? Our Intralign Self-Assessment Questionnaire is just what you need.

Terry Smith, Intraversed

Terry Smith

Terry is a co-founder & Chief Education Officer at Intraversed. She spends her days helping information governance teams implement the Intralign Ecosystem, an award winning methodology that builds stable information foundations for reliable reporting.

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