ORLANDO, Fla. — CIOs don't care about information.

Not enough of them anyway, according to OpenText's Joyce Hostyn, who led an innovation track with colleague Deb Lavoy yesterday at the 2013 OpenText World Enterprise Information Management Conference at the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton here. And they need to, as evidenced by feedback in her innovation track.

Information Overlooked, Debated

"The CIO is not an information officer. It's a technology officer," Hostyn told CMSWire.com after her session. "But part of the struggle is there seems to be no one really at the top level seems to recognize the strategic importance of information. And people struggle because of it from the bottom level."

Further, organizations struggle today with defining information in the first place, Hostyn added. And this was backed by one of yesterday's innovation track attendees.

People can’t agree what information is and what content is. What's the difference between content, data and information? When does a record become a record?

These debates happen often in the information enterprise, without resolution. Executives? They want definitions from organizations like Gartner, Forrester and AIIM. The problem, Hostyn told CMSWire.com, is that no one can define information, including Gartner, Forrester and AIIM.

"There's a difference between information and content," said Hostyn, the director of customer experience at OpenText. "Maybe the CIO has something in his head, but others have a different one. This makes it hard to have any focus and clear conversation."

One of the conference attendees said the debates about definitions are simply not valuable. Because the end user doesn't care what anything deemed so long as they can execute their own strategy. 

Technology Pool — Don't Dive Too Fast


Hostyn said she sees too many information professionals jumping into a technology solution before innovating. We have to ask ourselves more questions, she said, to help define information strategies and objectives; then, ask more questions whether a tool can help.

Information has tremendous powers in innovation and growth, Hostyn said, and CIOs need to harness these opportunities and resources.

Conference attendees yesterday were asked to define information strategies and how to make them successful for their organizations. Some of the questions they arrived at included:

  • What does success look like? How do I measure it? Are there industry benchmarks to measure success? 
  • Why do I need an information strategy? 
  • Who owns the strategy? Will it be used? Is data accessible? How do we avoid turf wars? How do we prioritize?
  • How do we measure return on investment?
  • How will system overlaps be resolved? How will compliance be fostered?
  • How do I prevent disruption or handles others’ lack of planning?
  • How does the strategy support corporate strategy? 
  • Is the strategy relevant and unique? How do I know if it’s wrong, and what are the ramifications? 
  • How do we accomplish strategy? What are the KPIs? And how does strategy align with core organization objectives? 

None of this seems to matter, however, if there is not a top-level investment.

"At the top level, we think we have to buy technology to solve our problems," Hostyn said. "But information itself has nothing to do with technology. Technology isn't first. Technology can help support information."

Check out all of CMSWire.com's coverage on this week's OpenText conference:

Photo by Dom Nicastro.