We're almost a quarter of the way through 2016 already – where has time gone? It's been three months since we left 2015 behind, and in that time, much will have happened throughout businesses across Australia.
Hopefully the first quarter has given you a good idea of what the next few months have to hold.
Some will have grown substantially, found a way to improve productivity or created a whole new line of products or services. Others will have found 2015 and early 2016 a difficult period, hampered by the under-performing Australian dollar and their inability to innovate in the quickly changing modern era.
Whichever side of the fence you sit on, you'll have aimed to get 2016 off to the best possible start. Hopefully the first quarter has given you a good idea of what the next few months have to hold.
It's also a good time to check how those New Year's resolutions are tracking, and, if you haven't got any, even make some for the coming three quarters.
We're not talking about the kinds that promises to go to the gym more or cut down on the cigarettes, but ones that build your business's financial strength and remove toxic parts of your organisational structure with better information management.
If you want to start making the most of all four of your business assets – money, staff, physical resources and information – here are some things to put in your list of promises:
1) I will review how my business uses information
Any attempt to improve the management of information needs to start with a frank understanding of where you are at the moment. An information management health check can include assessing:
- How much information and raw data your business has
- How much of it you use and which of it is locked away
- The processes for accessing information around the company
- Who is in charge of data management
- How secure your information is
- What tools you use to manage it; and more
2) I will not make any knee-jerk reactions
If you see that data is running riot around your organisation, don't make any rash decisions. These can often prove expensive and may not fix the issues in the first place.
For instance, you may wrongly decide that all you need are new technologies, such as enterprise content management systems. These are often marketed in a way that makes them seem like the quick and simple solution to all your information management ailments, though most are nothing but a quick bandage.
According to AIIM, more than half of surveyed organisations have three or more electronic content, document or record management systems in place, so if you make a knee-jerk reaction in this way, it might make your business more complex and sluggish than ever.
3) I will create business governance that includes information
You can't build on a garbage heap. To succeed with improving your information management, you'll need to start from the ground up, and that means looking at how your business governs the use of information within your company.
You will need a person accountable for leading information management and delegating responsibilities.
4) I will not pass the buck to IT departments
From that third resolution comes the fourth. Current CIOs and CDOs are not given the authority or the accountability to respectively reward or hold to task successful information management and mismanagement.
For so long, executives have simply been shirking their responsibilities to the IT department, which will always aim to spend money on new technologies. The status quo needs to be broken, and hopefully when it is, 2016 can finally be the year of the true CIO.
5) I will stick with it
It's been estimated that around 88 per cent of New Year's resolutions are broken and left unfulfilled, so don't let your plans fall by the wayside, regardless of when you make them. The digital, data-led universe is expanding and threatening to push those who don't treat their Information Assets appropriately into insignificance. After all, you wouldn't mismanage your finances and expect to stay in business, and information can be far more valuable.
So, don't give up before you get a real grasp over these essential resources. This time next year, you might be looking back and toasting yourself on a pivotal 12 months for your organisation.