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Deconstruct and Recapture IM

IM. What is IM? 

According to Wikipedia, IM can be interpreted as any of the following; 

  • The Postcode area of the Isle of Man
  • A giant in Norse mythology
  • Instant Messaging
  • Information Management

Yet, whilst it would be tempting to delve into the Nordic ‘other world’ and hold your attention with tales of fighting giants, this article will aim to address the less dramatic, but important corporate struggles you may be having in regards to information overload. Yes – we are talking about Information Management …The first of three posts addressing the WHAT, the WHEN and the HOW of Information Management, we get to the core of what information needs to be managed and why.   

So what IS Information Management?

According to AIIM (the Association for Information and Image Management):

“Information, as we know it today, includes both electronic and physical information. The organizational structure must be capable of managing this information throughout the information lifecycle regardless of source or format (data, paper documents, electronic documents, audio, social business, video, etc.) for delivery through multiple channels that may include cell phones and web interfaces. Given these criteria, we can then say that the focus of IM is the ability of organizations to capture, manage, preserve, store and deliver the right information to the right people at the right time.”

In short, modern Information Management no longer has to resemble the academic and rather dusty images it may invoke. You may just have thought of:

  • >Dealing with row upon row of colour coded or barcoded files on a shelf, or
  • >Being forced to use functionally based "one size fits all" Electronic Document and Records Management system folder hierarchies, or
  • >Hoarding your emails so that you can find something again "just incase"...

Today, information is EVERYWHERE. Information is available in so many different formats due to advancements in technology, but also in new ways of collaborating and communicating with each other. On top of this is the wider consideration of what information needs to be captured or recaptured after it is put out there into the wider world. Not only is information pushed to others for a variety of reasons, but we are also interested in their reaction to that same information. 

Think of the information around you

As soon as we create to communicate, information management becomes the core of collaborative efforts, it is social; it is an essential part of being able to improve the way you do things – whether it be key business processes or even the funky new app on your phone which organises your day or preferences.

Information Management should not default to a mash of document and records management. It does not have to be about business staff trying to get their head around what is a corporate record and what is not, and to be classification gurus in order for their company to be compliant with standards they don’t even care about. This records question may even be beyond their comprehension given the new toys we have to play with, and why not instead encourage the engagement and enthusiasm in using such tools to improve their working day?

Information Managers still have a vital role to play in determining how such information is captured and preserved over time in the organisation’s best interest, but they can also be your best friend in providing new ways of looking at such information and how it can be reshaped or resurfaced to provide knowledge back to staff. They can now point out the jewels in your collection.

So what's new?

Today we need to consider not only electronic and physical documents, but also (to name a few):

  • Web content - information captured on internet and intranet site pages 
  • Social media outlets - whether they be posts, comments, analytics 
  • Multimedia files in cloud shares - sometimes because they are too big to be captured elsewhere 
  • The information created to support a particular business scenario can now be created and managed in a multitude of formats and it is vital to welcome the challenge of preserving these moments rather than constraining the experience itself (usually by restricting the technology that is made available).
  • Some examples of this could include: 
  • Allowing Legal staff to provide advice on dealing with customer queries on Intranet sites, provided that the information provided on that site page can be retrieved based on the time it was made available (site page versioning)
  • Enabling staff to interact with corporate partners or clients through social media conversations, providing that these moments of collaboration can be retrieved as not only evidence in the traditional sense of the word, but even re-used for marketing purposes where permission is granted
  • Collaborating simultaneously online in cloud shares with mobile contractors in the development of reports, or even the signing of contracts, providing that secure channels have been established. The best practice fundamentals of Information Management are still alive and well to ensure the safe keeping of corporate information, but it should also support efficient and exciting ways of working

The challenge

All this enthusiasm is great, but WHEN and HOW do we capture all this information? And do we need to capture it all? 

The next two instalments of this IM discussion will address those very questions, but in the meantime you may be interested Enterprise Content Management

Posted by: Kirsten Glenwright, Senior Consultant  | 03 June 2015

Tags: Information Management, Knowledge Management

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