An Information Management Strategy (IMS) is a complex, ongoing, living process involving all technology investments and decisions. Quite often an IMS – although it may not always be called that – is only done after technology has been invested in. For most organizations, in their early involvement with technology, the relationships and the dependencies of one piece of technology and another are rarely seen, and few vendors want to complicate a sale by pointing them out to the client. Therefore, it is not uncommon when first beginning our relationship with a new strategic-thinking client to find the need to determine and present an overview of the projects involved, folding in existing technology, defined requirements and even “wish list” items. This may be the seed that creates direction in a client’s IT journey, and one must always have plants to water.
An Information Management Strategy is predicated on the concept that the real value of your system is not in the hardware, or even the software, but is your business problem itself and its applied solution. We treat Information Management as a “Lego Block” construction of component solutions as represented by the associated artwork.
Technology can help, and likely even what you have today can be utilized more effectively, wasting less effort, and costing less in lost productivity, redundant data management and uncooperative, isolated systems. It was supposed to make it easier, remember?
The Strategy defines the direction of technology within the organization and the reasoning for change. It is not intended to completely describe the end-result, but rather overviews the problems, issues, inefficiencies and lack of return on existing solutions. A traveler cannot accurately describe a destination to which he has never been, but they can clearly indicate their dissatisfaction with their current location. In this manner, the Strategy does not precisely detail the technology of the organization’s “final” solution, but rather concerns itself with identifying and resolving the elementary problems of today.
Once an IMS is developed and the advantages of interlocking appropriate solutions together become clear, solving each problem is simplified. As the parable states, “The way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time”. The solution to each problem becomes a Project unto itself, with its own return on investment, its own clear beginning and ending. Each solved problem is a step within the Strategy along the technological direction chosen for the organization towards the shifting “final” solution.