The rise of big data, social networking and mobile interactions is forcing organisations to focus on the enterprise information that is most relevant, value-generating and risk-related.
Gartner predicts that, by 2017, 33 percent of Fortune 100 organisations will experience an information crisis, due to their inability to effectively value, govern and trust their enterprise information.
"There is an overall lack of maturity when it comes to governing information as an enterprise asset," says Andrew White, research vice president, Gartner.
"It is likely that a number of organisations, unable to organise themselves effectively for 2020, unwilling to focus on capabilities rather than tools, and not ready to revise their information strategy, will suffer the consequences."
According to White, business leaders need to manage information, rather than just maintain it.
"When we say 'manage,' we mean 'manage information for business advantage,' as opposed to just maintaining data and its physical or virtual storage needs," he adds.
“In a digital economy, information is becoming the competitive asset to drive business advantage, and it is the critical connection that links the value chain of organisations."
The discipline of exploiting the various types of information created and managed inside and outside organisations is called enterprise information management (EIM).
It enables people across an organisation to share, manage and reuse information that was created in different applications and stored in different databases and repositories.
But these abilities do not, by themselves, help an organisation, says White, who believes IT leaders must design EIM initiatives so that sharing and reusing information creates business value, and the value created must contribute to enterprise goals.
Ultimately, an EIM program must help an organisation identify which information is important to its success — not all information is. It must evaluate a great deal of information and determine what qualifies as enterprise information.
Gartner analysts said that, at present, over three-quarters of individual information management initiatives are isolated from each other within the same organisation. This leads to EIM not being realised, sustained or fully exploited.
“We recommend that IT leaders identify the crucial business outcomes that need improvement or that are being held by poor information management,” White adds.
“Second, they need to determine the business processes and leaders most impacted by those outcomes, and use their findings to start setting priorities for a new EIM program.
“Finally, they need to adopt a program management approach for EIM, to identify work efforts, resource commitments, stakeholder expectations and metrics for success.”
As EIM focuses on linking projects, using assets and aligning organisational efforts, there is also demand for information governance according to White.
"With effective information governance, business users will understand the impact of poor quality data on the outcome of desired business processes,” he says.
“This understanding leads to a desire, on behalf of the end user, to assure or 'steward' the data so that it supports their day-to-day business activities.”