Why do you need an information strategy?
Information is an essential asset to all organisations. Without information relating to customers, products, staff, business processes, suppliers, property, and innumerable other aspects of a modern organisation, all organisations would grind to a halt. As essential as information is, it is often not managed as well as a critical asset should be. For your organisation, do you know where all of your data resides? That it is trustworthy, up to date, and complete enough to use for decision making? That it is accessible when needed, and where needed? That it is protected and secure? That you know, based on previous actions and decisions, what the next best action to take is? That you know you are compliant with all legislative and government requirements? That your data is stored in the most efficient and cost effective manner fit for purpose?
All of these questions highlight the challenges and decisions needed to ensure you have applied diligence and care to your information. An information strategy is a framework for asking these questions, for planning how to address the issues uncovered by the answers, and for organising your company to implement the plan.
The challenge many companies face is that the scope of an information strategy can be enormous, and addressing all the issues can be very costly. Many information strategies successfully document and highlight the key information risks and issues your organisation faces, but very often the sheer breadth of change required to address the issues becomes unmanageable. Often this is because the strategy is not managed as a company-wide initiative, instead being driven by IT, or another subset of the company. The strategy needs to focus on people, processes, policies and company culture, and not be technology centric. Lastly, the strategy needs to be realistic. It should focus on the aspects that can be feasibly managed and changed, rather than an idealistic list of every information management best practice.
The NOW Consulting approach to Information Strategy
NOW Consulting have an established framework for developing and delivering an information strategy based on core principles that we have seen enable successful execution. The core principles include:
- Engage key stakeholders, impacted staff and company leaders early and often.
- Develop knowledge, capability and approach before commencing on development and delivery.
- Focus on business outcomes, and ensure the strategy is delivering tangible benefits on a regular basis.
- Plan and execute change incrementally, keep each incremental changes small and focused on one aspect of the scope, and ensure each phase of the strategy is completed and successful before commencing the next phase.
- Put emphasis on the non-technology aspects of the strategy, not only the technologies. Good change management, governance, user adoption and communication are key to building and maintaining a successful capability that will be resilient to outside forces and pressures.
NOW Consulting’s information strategy framework focuses on a core set of deliverables that ensure these principles are used to build the strategy, to guide its execution, and to measure it’s success. Our frame work delivers a strategy that encompasses the full scope of information management:
- Analysis and assessment of your company challenges, opportunities and goals, aligned to information management initiatives designed to deliver tangible company objectives.
- Information systems interviews and discovery, including data profiling across your enterprise systems, to document and analyse the current information landscape in your company.
- Development of an enterprise information model, outlining key business entities and relationships, with associated data models, and a business dimensional view.
- Development of a technical architecture, with a phased implementation plan.
- A review your company’s information delivery practices and methodologies, with proven recommendations, guidelines and practices for accelerating and enabling your capability.
- A review of your company’s information management capability, encompassing skills, staff and structure, with recommendations aligned to international best practice, and successful real world businesses.
- A framework for implementing information governance, improving business engagement, and driving user adoption.
- A framework for master data management, with a focus on customer centric master data.
- A detailed roadmap outlining the timeframe for changes, across people, process, technology, information, and market opportunities.