14 Mar What Is Intelligent Information Management?
From our experience, there’s a vast difference between managing information and managing information intelligently. One will get you from Point A to Point B – if that’s your goal. The other, the intelligent one, will get you from Point A to Point B with less hiccups, less headaches, and a higher return on investment.
So, what is intelligent information management?
The Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM) defines it as a practice that integrates people, processes, information, and technology to achieve digital transformation. It takes organizations through (1) Creating, Capturing, and Sharing Information, (2) Digitalizing Information-Intensive Processes, (3) Automating Governance and Compliance, (4) Extracting Intelligence from Information, and (5) Implementing an Information Management Strategy.
At Access Sciences, we have the same idea, but our definition is slightly different: Intelligent Information Management is approaching information from all perspectives – the business-side, the technology-side, and the governance-side of things because a well-rounded, integrated solution is what reduces those hiccups, alleviates those headaches, and maximizes value throughout its lifecycle.
THE BUSINESS-SIDE OF THINGS
It’s like organizing your family’s house. Let’s say it’s chaotic with years and years of accumulated stuff, and you intend to take spring cleaning seriously this time around.
One way to go about it is to grab trash bags and start throwing anything and everything away. When you’re done, you’ll have a clean house BUT we guarantee you’ll be looking for all your missing items a month later.
And if you overlooked consulting your key stakeholders (i.e., the other members of the household), you can anticipate a big headache. Who knew the old, shabby stuffed animal still meant THAT much?
When it comes to implementing an information management solution, businesses often speed through (and sometimes overlook) the strategic planning and change management efforts so they can roll something out ASAP.
Unfortunately, many information management systems are marketed that way, claiming all you have to do is push the “ON” button, sit back, and enjoy your new and improved information landscape. Our team is often called to undo the additional chaos that kind of solution approach creates.
In fact, one of AIIM’s key findings for the State of Intelligent Information Management in 2021 is that C-Suites are failing to align their business and technology strategies. The recommendation? Money, focus, and culture – not just technology – are key.
It’s imperative – businesses need to put a lot of effort into the prep to avoid that headache. A big portion of intelligent information management is setting a strong strategy ahead of time. And to do that, you need to fully analyze your current state (people, processes, information, and technology), measure that against where you want to be, and then you can form your strategic roadmap.
And don’t forget about those stakeholders. In this case, it’s your employees – and change management is key. AIIM’s 2021 report encourages intelligent information management teams to identify culture pressure points to leverage.
Start engaging them at the very beginning of a project to find out their current problems, goals, wants, and needs. And then, communicate:
- This is how we’ll solve your problem.
- This is how we’ll help you reach your goals.
- This is how the solution will address your wants and needs.
If change management is successful and the organization is accepting of the changes to come, your return on investment grows.
THE GOVERNANCE-SIDE OF THINGS
Once your house is clean and organized, the next step is to make sure it never gets to that level of chaos again. Basically, it’s time to set some house rules. This is the point in time where you tell your family: Socks always go in this drawer, towels always go on this shelf, and silverware always goes in this cabinet. If you haven’t played with a toy in six months, it’s time to donate it.
That way, everything is where it’s supposed to be, it’s easy to find the things you need, and the cluttered chaos is prevented.
When it comes to intelligent information management, governance accomplishes the same goal. Taxonomy development will ensure information can be found whenever it’s needed, regardless of who created it and where it’s stored. Policies and processes (like retention schedules) will ensure that only relevant information is kept while redundant, outdated, and trivial (ROT) information is properly disposed of.
Of course, all the taxonomies, the policies, and the processes must support the business to really reduce risk and add value.
With the ever-increasing information chaos facing organizations, it can often seem like a daunting task to even know where to start with governance. AIIM suggests:
- Looking at the most immediate need first and building a priority queue.
- Look at compliance/regulatory/legal issues to determine priority.
- Look at operations to see if there is one information issue that is shared across the enterprise.
- Directly ask the executive team what pain points they see.
This list should help organizations prioritize their governance issues. Is there a compliance risk with any government regulations like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)? If yes, that may be a good place to start.
THE TECHNOLOGY-SIDE OF THINGS
Shiny object syndrome is a prevalent issue in the business world. The latest trending tech will be so enticing that it’s easy to forget to consider how it will solve your specific business problems.
In its 2021 report, AIIM cites developing clear, consistent, and prioritized business requirements before looking at any sort of technology as the most important element in a successful intelligent information management deployment.
If you don’t, it’s the equivalent of buying a gorgeous white couch for its aesthetic when you have two dogs that shed black fur along with a toddler that loves to paint and spills food constantly. It may be trendy, but it’s not the best fit for your specific situation.
Too often, technology is the core focus when it comes to implementing a solution. However, technology alone will not solve intelligent information management problems. It needs to be tied to the business and governance goals to provide any sort of value.
“Transforming business (and the term ECM) has never been about the technology itself; but rather, it has always been about the business improvements organizations want to make, and the many facets of managing the lifecycle of information across an enterprise that enable organizations to make them.”
– Kevin Craine in Defining Intelligent Information Management
When they all come together, the business, governance, and technology perspectives make information management intelligent. It’s not enough to prioritize one over the other. To extract the most value from your solution, you need to seamlessly integrate all three.