Enterprises lack true information strategy
FYI, this story is more than a year old
Just as business model thinking wasn't mainstream or well rehearsed a decade ago, management thinking at an "information as strategy" level is still evolving.
Recent research by Gartner has found that less than 10% of enterprises today have a true information strategy.
“When asked about the new kinds of information they anticipate as being disruptive in the next few years, half of the respondents could not provide an answer or name a technology,” says Partha Iyengar, research manager, Gartner.
“The social Iinternet, inexpensive sensors, the internet of things and other trends will cause an explosion in the types of information that are available.
"In this way, competition will increasingly be defined by differential access, control and value recognition and timely exploitation of information.”
As business leaders reconfigure and re-skill their organisations in order to take advantage of these opportunities, Gartner has identified four key focal points for organisational development:
1. How will new kinds of information drive value? Who will be creative with that? How will they explore their ideas? What support is in place for information led innovation?
2. As information improves in its granularity, precision or resolution, who will notice when key thresholds have passed and new things become possible that were not realistic before?
3. How will the organisation search, discover, conjoin and secure the new datasets and information streams that are becoming available?
4. How will they engineer the social and legal permissions needed to use information without it seeming like spying, privacy invasion or unfairness?
Iyengar says leveraging the above effectively requires overlapping human, professional and organisational competencies, while sharpening each of them will be key to competitive success.
And given the level of important strategic work to be done on the information that the company uses, he believes it is essential to identify who in the organisation is ultimately responsible for this.
In most companies, the real answer is "everyone and no-one", but that cannot be sustained because the complexity, risk and opportunity presented by the information explosion keeps on expanding.
Most CIOs do not take responsibility for information policy according to Iyengar however, for new information acquisition or for information asset business exploitation.
CEOs are beginning to see that gap and try to fill it, with a head of information management or a chief data officer (CDO).
“We have talked to a number of CDOs about their appointment and the circumstances that led to it," Iyengar says.
"It seems the appointment of a CDO often relates to an awakening within the senior leadership of the firm regarding the importance of information management and the current lack of ownership and focus on it.
"The most enlightened boards and CEOs are beginning to understand the value potential — sometimes appointing CDOs to exploit information assets more aggressively.
"Those less advanced in the trend seem to act from a position of concern about the risk of a lack of governance leading to regulatory or reputational problems.”