Information management has become an essential practice in any organization seeking to future proof their business model. Thus, developing the most effective (IM) information management strategy should be the top priority for businesses that clearly define how the right information should be delivered to the right people at the right time.
Creating an effective information management strategy requires identifying organizational goals, defining roles, accessing current systems and technologies, establishing policies for information collection, storage, and destruction, monitoring how information is flowing through different parties.
The aim of an information management strategy is to help organizations effectively manage their information to ensure its accuracy, accessibility, and security. It aids in defining a holistic approach to how information flows in and out.
Without a clear IM strategy in place, employees will find it difficult to access and share information, leading to decreased productivity, missed opportunities, and uninformed decision-making.
In this article, we will discuss what is information management strategy, why is it important, and how to develop the ideal plan for your company.
What is an information management (IM) strategy?
An information management strategy defines the framework for managing information throughout its lifecycle. It describes the policies of how information is collected, stored, and shared between internal and external parties and clearly define the roles and responsibilities for managing information.
Who should create an IM strategy within organizations?
The responsibility for creating IM strategies typically falls on senior management or executive leadership within organizations. This is because an effective strategy requires a comprehensive understanding of an organization’s goals, operations, and information needs.
From my previous experience, the engagement of senior management is essential as they need to be involved in allocating the proper resources who will take charge of implementing the policies and procedures that control the collection, storage, and destroy of information.
Why is IM strategy important?
An IM strategy is important because it help organizations make the most out of their information by ensuring that information is centralized, relevant, up to date, and accurate. With an effective strategy in place, organizations can make informed decisions, increase efficiency, and mitigate risks.
Here are the top benefits:
1- Increased productivity
When information is managed properly where employees can access it when needed in a fast manner, it helps them to have more time for more innovative tasks.
Did you know that according to McKinsey, employees spend 1.8 hours every day—9.3 hours per week, on average—searching and gathering information.
2- Increased efficiency
Businesses in all sizes are searching for ways to increase their operation efficiencies by automating repetitive tasks. This can’t be implemented if information is siloed and scattered across different places.
An effective roadmap will make sure that information is stored in a centralized way and all systems available can have access to it whenever needed.
3- More informed decisions
When information is accurate and maintained properly, senior executives will be able to make business decisions that will affect positively the outcome of their operations. Part of the roadmap importance is to maintain high quality information for all users.
4- Better compliance
Every business, regardless of size or sector, operates in a regulated environment where laws and regulations regarding the use and storage of information must always be adhered to. An successful plan will keep your company up to speed on the most recent changes and ensure that it complies fully with all applicable regulations.
Steps to create the perfect strategy
In order to craft the best suited IM strategy for your organization, you need to follow these steps.
1- Define organizational goals
When assisting businesses in creating an information management strategy, the first step we take is to identify their target objective. You will be able to connect yourself with the vision and understand the problems they are seeking to solve by responding to their questions about why they are launching this effort.
2- Assess current state
The second step is to assess the efficiency of the current process in place. In addition, you should meet with key stakeholders in each department and understand how they are using information and what are the current challenges being faced.
In addition, you will identify the different tools and technologies used and identify the legacy applications that can jeopardize your implementation plan.
3- Identify and prioritize information assets
This step involves understanding all types of information within an organization including both structured data (databases, spreadsheets) and unstructured data (emails, documents). When the identification phase is complete, you must identify the top important assets that need to be handled as first priority.
From my experience, prioritization usually is affected by the sensitivity of the information, the importance of the information to business continuality, and the frequency of use.
4- Develop the plan
The plan should outline the policies, procedures, and guidelines necessary to manage an organization’s information assets effectively.
It should also cover different aspects including information governance, data quality, data security, data retention, and data privacy.
5- Implement the IM strategy
At this stage, your role is to put the action plan which covers training staff, implementing technologies needed, and monitoring how well employees are adhering to each part of the strategy.
Usually in big organizations, the senior management assigns key resources to handle the implementation phase by closely monitoring information usage and storage, gathering feedback, and suggest changes when needed.
6- Continuously evaluate and improve
The last stage in creating the perfect information management strategy is to keep on evaluating the process and suggest improvements based on previously collected feedback.
We usually advise for the resources allocated to meet biweekly to share their findings and update the documentation when needed.
An effective information management (IM) strategy is a very critical element in any organization that wants to make the most of their information assets to drive inovation, improve delivery and accessibility.