There’s no shortage of voices talking about the need for a new approach to enterprise information management (EIM). We can spend a lot of time unpacking all of the societal, individual, technological and digital forces that have brought us to what Andy Grove of Intel calls the inflection point: a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change.
But how can we make this change happen in EIM?
Without principles at its core, EIM Strategy will degenerate into an insignificant organizing and reorganizing of already existing situations -- a “rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic.”
No single methodology fits every company. We have crafted a set of principles, tools and techniques to drive strategy, enable business leaders to lead the change and engage the entire organization in this mission.
1. Align EIM with Strategic Business Goals
Seems like common sense, but is a principle that bears repeating. EIM investment and activity must work towards and be judged by the objectives of your 3-5 year cycle. These objectives should include: increasing revenue, lowering costs, improving customer satisfaction, operating more efficiently, engaging employees, being first to market and operating responsibly.
2. Understand All Information Is Not the Same
Without a shared understanding of information, no understanding will ever be reached on EIM strategy. There is a fundamental difference between data, content, information and knowledge. Decisions can't be made based on data -- once it's refined, it becomes information, and that is what fuels the decisions we make in our work everyday.
3. Have an Entrepreneurial EIM Leader
Let's face it: entrepreneur is probably not the first word that leaps to mind when discussing EIM. This mindset needs to change. This organization wide challenge calls for an inspired individual to spark the necessary excitement who can lead this critical information and technology mission. She or he must have credibility with the board, an accountable mandate and be able to work with agility and strategic gravitas.
4. Keep the End Users at the Center of Thinking
As the balance of EIM moves from traditional centralized models of content management to meet 21st century user and business demands, the EIM experience must be as easy and satisfying as consumer innovations. Why should it feel easier to manage information at home than in the office?
Put a set of EIM commitments in place through a board level charter -- such as three clicks to get to the information you need. This will demonstrate to employees the commitment we have to making change happen.
5. Set Company Wide Benchmarks and Measure Success
Measuring the impact of EIM calls for clear and agreed upon baseline and target metrics. Instate a set of metrics to ensure we can agree on what success looks like as the strategy moves us forward. These can be quantitative information metrics, qualitative factors and usability elements. This will make it easier to share the value and worth of the EIM mission with the business.
6. In Volatile Times, Agility Rules. Short Term Wins are Essential
To make this EIM change credible, it calls for focused, achievable sprints, rather than unwieldy and unrealistic transformation programs. We know from business and our own lives, genuine lasting change is the result of small, manageable steps. And nothing breeds success, and internal support, like success.
Change creates anxiety and fear. Continuing with the status quo holds tremendous power, and the possibility of losing what we have grown accustomed to and comfortable with can create worry.
Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be. To see the true value of information, we need strategic direction and new tools that help us all do our work smarter, faster and easier -- freeing up time that can be used to be more productive. Because information is a strategic imperative.