Information is one of a business's four key resources – it's also the least known and most neglected. And yet, in the modern day, it's perhaps the most powerful asset for finding and maintaining market position.
A legal firm told us that on one hand information is their single greatest source of competitive advantage – and on the other, their single greatest business exposure.
While financial, human and physical resources are all tangible and well ingrained in practically every level of every organisation, it is currently only industry leaders who are treating their information assets in a way that reaps substantial benefits.
But why should you care? It is a question Experience Matters' Managing Director James Price will be answering while presenting at the 2015 Information and Data Quality (IDQ) Summit in Baltimore, Maryland, USA on October 12-14.
Here's a sneak peak into the benefits and risks or poor information management.
1) Because we're overloaded with garbage information
Mergers and acquisitions are perhaps the quickest way a company (or companies) can grow, by taking on another's physical and human assets all at once. However, they also inherit that business's information, inefficiencies and compliance headaches around managing it.
The acquisition of one mining company we know included 80,000 boxes of documentation – as well as a pair of working boots and half a cup of coffee. This became a huge chore for them to manage, and could have opened the door to time-intensive exercises should just one of those muddled documents have held key business information.
2) Because productivity can rely upon it
No director or officer likes to see their staff waste valuable man hours. However, when Information Assets aren't treated with care, such productivity drains aren't necessarily their fault, but that of the person who's meant to be responsible.
We've also seen an oil and gas company forced to reverse engineer repairs to their plant equipment because the original built drawings could not be found. With better management of data from day one, the document could have been pulled from systems in seconds, putting those man hours back into the company.
3) Because there's untapped revenue in your company
Somewhat linked to the productivity point, significant amounts of money can be saved or made by using information in a smarter way. Not only is this achievable through workplace efficiency gains, however, but through smarter risk management, the creation of better strategies, improved decision making and revitalised governance.
An insurance company we know had approximately one million boxes of hard-copy information in storage. The contents of 20,000 of these were unknown, though they proved to have $1.5 million in untapped revenue (claims that had not been pursued) just sitting there.
Of course, there are plenty of other benefits, too. If you're unable to make it to one of our upcoming global presentations, why not give us a call for personal business advice and assistance around improving your relationship with your Information Assets.