Your Information Assets (your data, information, content and knowledge) are potentially your most important resource. No business activity, no business process and no business decision can be conducted or made without it. Yet, in comparison with your other assets (Financial Assets – money, Physical Assets – property and infrastructure including ICT and Human Assets – people) Information Assets are very poorly managed. This survey provides a high level indication of the maturity of your Information Asset management practices. And these are your results.

Executives intuitively understand that their Information Assets (their data, documents [including records], online content and knowledge) are of critical business value. They may be aware that the value of the S&P 500 (not the NASDQ) contributed to by intangible assets (which include Information Assets) has risen from 17% in 1974 to 84% today (Ocean Tomo 2017).

They know that their Information Assets are one of only four resources at their disposal – the others being Financial, Human and Physical Assets. They know that their Information Assets are vital for every business activity, every business process and every business decision. They are aware that their Information Assets are the only ones that cannot be replaced if lost. They are constantly bombarded with: Cyber-security and data breach reporting; Big Data, analytics, data science, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning; the Cloud and data sovereignty; innovation and digital disruption; and Block Chain and the Internet Of Things.

And they know that all these challenges and opportunities have only one, single common denominator – Information Assets.

Executives are becoming aware that the management of Information Assets is not a technical, IT issue, it is a business governance, asset governance, leadership & management and behavioural issue. According to the Ponemon Institute, with 68% of cyber-security threats coming from non-malicious internal sources and 22% coming from disgruntled employees, only 10% come from outside the organisation – so it just doesn't matter how good your firewall is.

Yet despite all this evidence, data, information and knowledge are not managed as a business asset. When asked what their organisations would look like if they managed their Financial Assets the way they manage their Information Assets, some executives admit that "they would be broke in a week."

This survey investigates organisations' Information Asset management practices and extrapolates the impact that those practices have on business performance. It provides organizations with tangible, empirical findings that enable them to begin the journey of managing their data, information and knowledge as a vital business asset that will enable them to increase billings and revenue, reduce costs, improve productivity, increase client service and satisfaction, create competitive advantage and improve staff morale.

This survey is based on the findings from a global investigation into the "Barriers to and benefits of managing data, information and knowledge as a business asset." Every organisation studied in our research recognises that they have data, information and knowledge that is of value to them and good information management practice is worth up to $20,000 per employee per year. However, despite the recognised value and the large potential benefits, every organisation studied acknowledges that their Information Assets are not managed optimally.

The survey asks questions that address ten domains:

1. The benefits to your organisation of good Information Asset management

The Benefits Domain describes potential tangible and intangible benefits that good Information Asset management contributes to revenue, cost, profitability, operations, competitive advantage, risk management and decision-making.

We start with benefits because they are the only things that matter.

2. Executive awareness of the importance of Information Asset

The Executive Awareness Domain assesses the extent to which the Board and Senior Leadership Team is aware of and advocates the importance of their Information Assets and propensity to manage those assets as such.

If the benefits of good Information Asset management are not understood, the executive will not be interested.

3. Business governance

The Business Environment Domain addresses the management of the organisation as a whole. It considers business governance which typically addresses "who makes what decisions". Managing the enterprise's assets effectively demands accountability. For instance, whereas the Chief Financial Officer delegates responsibility for spending the organisation's money (s)he is the one person accountable for managing it effectively. Managing the organisation’s Information Assets is no different.

If the executive is not interested in the importance of managing Information Assets well they won't create a conducive business environment.

4. Leadership and management

The Leadership and Management Domain is about the organisation's people. With regard to the management of Information Assets, it addresses human resources, structure, roles, culture, behaviour and incentives.

If the organisation does not have a conducive business environment it’s leadership and management won’t be encouraged to enforce good Information Asset management behaviours.

5. Information Asset governance and management

The Information Environment Domain addresses the management of the organisation's Information Assets. It interprets the Business Environment in terms of Information Asset governance, of ownership, of strategy, principles, policy and work instructions, of security and privacy, and of the instruments required to manage the organisation's Information Assets.

Without leadership and management, information management policies and other instruments will sit on the intranet gathering dust.

6. Information systems

The Information Systems Domain represents the technical and physical objects and instruments required to deliver the right information to the right people at the right time. They are the delivery mechanism, not the content being delivered.

Without the right information management foundations, information systems are unlikely to be usable or fit for purpose.

7. Information behaviours

The Information Behaviours Domain assesses how people within the organisation work with and manage information. Even with the right tools, measurement approaches and policies, Information Assets cannot be sustained unless supported by effective behaviours. Poor behaviours result in inefficiencies, duplication, errors and increased risk. This domain is critical for determining the Business Impact on the organisation of its information management practices.

Without efficient and effective information systems, information management behaviours will be poor.

8. Information quality and attributes

The Information Quality Domain addresses the quality of the Information Assets in terms of availability (can be found in a timely manner), correctness (it matches what it is supposed to be), completeness (information is not missing), currency (it is not outdated for the intended purpose) and relevance or applicability (it is fit for intended purpose and usefully supports employee research, decision making and action) of the Information Assets.

Poor information behaviours create poor quality information.

9. Information exploitation and performance

The Information Performance Domain considers how the organisation's Information Assets are put to work to drive business outcomes and to identify further opportunities.

Poor quality information prevents Information Assets from being effectively exploited and leveraged.

10. Justification of information management improvement

The Justification Domain assesses how information management initiatives are justified and can range from technology driven projects to continuous Information Asset management improvement with in-built benefits realisation

An inability to measure information performance precludes the articulation of business benefits.

Survey Response Details

Response ID
Organization name

Question Scores


Question score chart

The following graph shows the maturity your Information Asset Management practice.

Wasted Time


The maturity level you have indicated in each question triggers a number of possible recommendations. Each recommendation comes in the form of an intervention which is described by what it is, what it does and why it is necessary.


Good management of Information Assets has the following benefits. It :

1. Improves business performance

a. For your staff it :

i. drives faster activities and processes,
ii. facilitates better business decisions,
iii. reduces frustration, and
iv. improves staff satisfaction.

b. For your customers it:

i. improves product and service quality,
ii. provides new services,
iii. reduces price, and
iv. enables faster delivery.

c. For your organisation it:

i. increases revenue,
ii. reduces costs,
iii. improves profitability,
iv. increases productivity,
v. improves competitive advantage, and
vi. increases shareholder returns.

2. Mitigates your business risk in:

a. cyber security,
b. business continuity,
c. discovery / litigation, and
d. compliance.

3. Maintains business professionalism and ethics:

a. Deciding, either actively or passively, to manage the business sub-optimally is arguably negligent.
b. Business integrity is achieved by "acting impartially, ethically and in the interest of the business." (Evans 2017).

Many of the causes of these findings have simple remediation that can deliver significant improvements with tangible, realisable benefits. Organisations can also delve deeper into their analysis of the governance and management of their Information Assets by:

• Conducting the survey by consulting with stakeholders from across the organisation to gather empirical evidence of information management practices in all divisions and at all levels; or
• Conducting a deeper investigation in one part of the organisation as a form of pilot for information management improvements.

Contact us to find out more.