We just wrapped-up the first keynote session here at cmf2007
in Denmark. The one keynoting, and quite enthusiastically, was Bob Boiko
, otherwise known as the man who wrote the book
on content management. In good inverse pyramid fashion, I'll open with the closing.
According to Bob, the most important information in your organization is the stuff you're most afraid of dealing with
. It's the most politically loaded. It's the scariest. Its likely to off put the most people. That's the five percent of the info which you need to focus on and lead with.Boiko's main stance is that information management practitioners -- those who primarily are populating this conference -- need to take back the "I" in IT. He's not out on a crusade against technology. Far from it. The point is that the "I" needs to come back in balance with the "T" and that the folks tuned into the CM Forum here are just the people to lead this change.
Following are some key points from the talk:
Information is a Powerful, Poorly Understood Force
* We need to put the focus on information
, not tech or other specifics of how things will work, talk or live. The focus needs to be on gathering information from those who have and facilitating the delivery to those who need it. Period.
* Information is a force, but we don't know what kind of force it is. Most people squander their power of information.
Giving it to the IT department is squandering it.
* We are not in the information age yet
. We are still in industrial age. We can't take a piece of information and value and evaluate it, and compare it to other pieces of information. We can do this with jars of jam, but not information entities.
* Today the information person
does not have a place at the table. IT does. Marketing does. Management does. But, the information person does not. These other parties all know what they do. The technologist builds a system. S/he's an engineer. The business person focuses on schedule and cost. The information person's role is less clear today.
* You have to take a strategic approach to information if you want to play this role.
* Few people disagree with the statement "If we deliver the right kind of info to the right people its going to get us what we want." However, few people say this and fewer are willing to back this up with budget.
IT Can and Must Change
* IT needs to take back the word "I" in IT.
* People understand and can feel the tech. Its easier to see. Information is harder, difficult to see.
* IT can be about the "I". If they were equally weighted, every other person would be focused on information, but what would they be doing?
* The information person needs to ask and answer these questions:
** How do people look for it?
** What makes it good?
** Who gives and who gets?
** What's worth the expense?
* Next, we need to operationalize and commodify information.
* We need to know the value and the routes of distribution.
* We need to create a methodology around information.
* In most orgs, information management is not like art. Its more of a factory. If we don't operationalize the flow, its going to get stuck.
* Production of information is more like art, operationalizing it is not. This is your job.
Bob Boiko teaches at the University of Washington, runs Metatorial Services
and has a new book out entitled Laughing at the CIO