The management of Information Assets is gaining momentum across the world. Executives are (or should) be beginning to understand that by ignoring one of only the four resources they have control over – along with financial, human and physical assets – they are limiting their, and their employees', abilities on a massive scale.
At the same time, those slow to realise the benefits are putting their organisations in the line of fire and compromising continuity.
So, what are the biggest benefits to an organisation that truly embraces the present? Ultimately, there is only one: Allocating the resources that you have at your disposal effectively, for the good of the whole organisation.
That being said, the run-off benefits are vast in number – this LinkedIn piece could easily become a novel – so let's focus on three of the most substantial advantages for an organisation that effectively manages its Information Assets.
1) Reduced costs
In the spirit of business improvement, reducing costs is everything. Spend less and do more should be the mantra of any executive, though it's easier rolling off the tongue than it is rolling out in real life.
The double dividend of reducing expenses and improving revenue is of course possible, however, and is one of the ways businesses can tangibly assess the value of information management over time.
Specifically in terms of reducing costs, products or services can be made/delivered faster, cheaper and to a higher quality. However, to be precise, how they achieve this very much depends on what the business does.
A few years back, Santos Mining blew up its processing plant. It was only afterwards that the company realised it no longer had the plans to the structure, having thrown them away, and the task began to reverse engineer the structure so they could build their new plant.
It's an extreme example, but shows the scale of savings that can be made just by managing information better. With a retention schedule that identifies key documents and protects them appropriately, the whole expensive affair could have been avoided.
2) Increased revenue
One of the most substantial ways to boost revenue is to create a more efficient work environment with less wastage. The average organisation is filled with productivity killers due to poor information management. Even if an employee spends minutes looking for a document they should be able to find in a matter of seconds, that all adds up.
Estimates from EY Australia suggest it could be as much as $109 billion in wasted wages alone, and that's despite current high levels of worker motivation. Motivation isn't the problem, it's the organisation's information management.
Meanwhile, improving the structure of an organisation's Information Assets empowers the workforce to do more quicker.
3) Managed risk
Risk is a very significant catalyst for improvement, though the problem is that it leaves many organisations paralysed with fear. Executives should empower their employees to work without fear, and they do that by backing them with a whole array of accurate, timely information and knowledge.
After all, risk management is simply the management of information, using data and knowledge to spot any hazards that may be on the horizon. When you have the right governance strategy for that information, it's easier for people on all levels to make better, safer decisions.
The results are broad and wide, though some of the most common are:
- Improved data security, both physically and online
- Protection from the loss of reputation as a result of inefficiency
- Improved disaster recovery to secure business continuity
- An ability to quickly find the documents needed for compliance or litigation
- Increased protection of intellectual property
- Reducing the loss of knowledge from employees leaving the organisation
… But more specifically
It's always going to come back to what's important to that specific organisation at that particular point in time, and the biggest benefits can change depending on the very specific nuances of that organisation
What effective information management does is allows you to make better decisions. Information is the cornerstone of any decision, and by improving how it is collected, stored and used throughout the business is a no-brainer in my opinion.