Why Enterprise Information Management matters

Sep 22, 2016
According to technology research center Gartner, the amount of online content is doubling every 2 to 3 years, which means it has multiplied by 100 since the start of my career in 1996. Unfortunately, the challenges in information management haven’t changed a lot since then. In fact, many organizations still struggle with handling their information correctly.
Throughout the years, I’ve watched technologies coming and going, products being acquired, fancy functionalities and (cloud) platforms being created. So far, most of them have failed to live up to all expectations. Companies and organizations have spent a lot of energy and resources on migrating from one platform to the next, simply ‘because the new version has some nice features’. And while these systems may possibly reduce costs, they bring little to no added value in terms of information handling. Enter: Enterprise Information Management (EIM).

What is Enterprise Information Management?

Enterprise Information Management (EIM) is a corporate strategy employed to structure and govern all important information assets across technological boundaries. The aim of EIM is to improve efficiency and reveal insights that can help companies survive and grow. It applies to large companies, but even more so to small businesses with ambitions to excel in what they do that also perceive information as valuable instead of costly.

First steps towards change: structured and unstructured

In today’s society, paper is largely being replaced by digital files, saving both money and trees. At last year’s AIIM (the Association for Information and Image Management) Conference, we heard about how tons of digitization, collaboration and information management projects have failed to meet promising expectations. Yet, after decades of implementing structured processes in back-office platforms, companies are finally acknowledging that almost all of their unstructured information (email, invoices, contracts, technical documentation, etc.) is linked to their core processes. These structured processes make everything run smoother and better within an organization, creating a lot of unstructured content in the process. Information assets are a mixture of collaborative as well and transaction content and data. If you recognize information as an important asset for the company, it must be treated accordingly.

At the same time, more and more companies are introducing a ‘CIGO’: Chief Information Governance Officer. This person should safeguard all important information assets, such as contracts, invoices, customer information and technical documentation , supporting the company in its goal of achieving sustainable success in the future.

From Knowledge to Value

‘Deciding where to let go is a key element in managing the overall risk’, said Michael Coleman, SVP & CIO at Comporium Communications at #AIIM16. ‘You need to identify corporate assets and make sure they live in a specific place. Since there are not enough people to manage the increasing volume of information, you need to make sure you get that foundational layer right.’

Structured and unstructured corporate assets are the cornerstones of deciding which information needs to be kept and governed. We cannot leave the capturing, storing and classifying up to an individual if the process can do this better, faster and automatically. Moreover, the process will be better placed to classify the asset (i.e. fill in the context and metadata). Managing and sharing this information is Knowledge – and Knowledge that is well-applied is Value — value that helps your organization excel, both internally and on the market.

Is your organization struggling with any of the challenges mentioned above? Are you looking to define and implement an EIM strategy?

Author: Johan Raedemaeker. You can follow Johan on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.