Mapping The Information Strategy To The Business

Many ways of analysing information flows have been used in the past.  Modern theory, and arguably it combines most of the best features of its predecessors, is to focus on business processes.  This can be accomplished with or without conscious re-engineering activity.  The mere process of recording what the processes are can be exhausting and result in real benefits as well as internal debate as overlaps and gaps and quality dangers become evident.  The resolution of these overlaps and gaps and dangers has to be carried out by a coherent management team committed to the same goals and able to subordinate their departmental interest, since activities will be created and as well a being suspended.  This may be best supported by an independent external facilitator. The needs for employee skills will change, however the need for increasing personal literacy with the PC will continue to grow.

The definition of a business process produces the need to report from information carried in a document, database or any other format.  These “documents” are windows onto the information resource of the organisation.  They should themselves be structured into procedural, asset information or real-time operational information.

Procedures are controlled instructions as to how to do specific business operations and sub-processes.  Clearly they are an information resource and have a life-cycle as a document, usually textural, but capable with an advanced IT infrastructure of incorporating audio and video clips, to aid the explanation.

Asset Management and Document Management are  covered in our relevant section.

Real-time information management is inextricably linked to real-time control.  Although much that is for record purposes can be reported from within the main information resource.

An IS/IT project has approximately a five year cycle.  Not that the initial implementation need be more than a few months, even weeks.  But the sequence of revisiting and refreshing the system in the light of operational experience and the changes in the working environment a round it, not to mention the rapid progress continually being made in hardware and software tools.

Each of these factors contributes to the practical lifetime of a modern system before it undergoes a major re-investment.

This is not a criticism of initial research and design but a fact of life.  One factor or another will force the re-equipping, in all but the least changing of companies.  Conversely it is those companies who are most thorough in their business and IS review and integration that are likely to be rebuilding sooner rather than later.

How can this be tolerated.  Because the real value is in the collected data.  The cost of its collection quickly overtakes the investment costs.  Modern data can usually be captured and recorded in such as way as to make its transferability to other, replacement databased systems, an automated process.  This provides the historic record of actions and/or the source of data to be researched to provide the knowledge to better manage the business in the future.