The Four Pillars of a Sound Information Strategy - Page 1

Apr 26, 2007

Majid Abai

In my last article, I focused on information strategy and why it is important for any organization. In this article, I’d like to focus on the four pillars of a sound information strategy.

Pillar No.1: Manage the Information Asset

The first pillar in building a sound information strategy for an organization is the recognition that information is an organizational asset and, therefore, should be managed as one.

Managing the information asset starts with creation of an information management department within the organization. The department will supervise all the information architecture for the enterprise. It will partner with the enterprise architecture team to guarantee that system interconnectivity and standardization are enforced and all information duplication and application redundancies are minimized.

The other component in managing the information asset is the need to create an enterprise information model that will inventory all types of information as they are created, accessed, transferred (or copied) across the enterprise. Without it, we will not be able to identify information duplication and redundancies and, as such, cannot minimize their occurrence.

For example, all the current discussions and efforts about master data management (MDM) would be moot, if an organization could not identify and document the creation and duplication points of such master data.

After identifying all information sources, the need for documentation of each piece of information becomes important. Creation of an enterprise-wide metadata repository that includes the metadata for all pieces of information allows organizations to again identify redundancies but this time at the atomic level of information.

In this effort, we are able to capture and document misinformation including descriptions, domains, ranges, values, etc., to correct the information and, ultimately, provide users of this information more accurate reports and documents.

The next step in creation of this metadata repository is to include internal and external taxonomies and ontology associated with the enterprise. Such documentation and analysis allows for faster incorporation of unstructured data within the unified information strategy for the organization.

Pillar No.2: Set Information Governance Policies

The second pillar in a sound information governance strategy is the setting of policies that protect information from unauthorized access and removal.

How many times within the past few years have you heard of a company losing some information? Or stories about unauthorized hacking of an organization’s computers and exposure of data?

In my opinion, the main reason for such problems is lack of information governance strategies from top management. You have to constantly assume that if there is a way, there is a will and, as such, somebody will access the information given the chance.

Our job, as information managers, is to remove that chance. This can only be achieved by setting the methods and policies that will govern data from any and all dangers.

Pillar No. 3: Identify Human Resources

There are a lot of roles that are needed to manage the information within the organization. Obviously, depending on the size of the organization, these roles are filled by one or more people. However, identification and documentation of the needed roles is an important aspect of the sound information strategy.

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