14 December 2005

In A Nutshell: Integrated Information Management

I often get asked what do I mean by "Integrated Information Management (IM)". Here follows a brief answer.

Integrated IM turns on three concepts: Integrated, Information and Management.

Management is concerned with six functions:
  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Directing
  • Controlling
  • Evaluating
  • Reporting
Information, on the other hand, is best defined in context of data and knowledge:
  • Data: series of facts
  • Information: data given context
  • Knowledge: information internalized
Considering users of information (creators, consumers, etc.) experience information through information activities, it helps to provide a sample list of such activities:
  • Information activities: find, create, receive, acquire, monitor, classify (for records management), classify (for index management), safeguard, organize, use, publish, collaborate, disseminate, archive, dispose, transfer... The list goes on. Any information related verb is, potentially, an information activity.
This leads us to the following definition:
  • Information Management: "the planning, organizing, directing, controlling, evaluating and reporting of information activities in order to meet client objectives and to enable corporate functions"
In a governmental context, "client objectives" can be replaced by "program objectives". Typical corporate functions are Financial Management, Human Resources Management, etc.

Finally, information management also deals with processes, systems and environments to the extent they encapsulate any information activity.


Now, what about integrated IM?

Integrated Information Management occurs when organizations integrate the following 18 facets of IM:
  • IM Vision
  • IM Principles
  • IM Directives
  • IM Architecture (9 components and 6 input categories)
These 18 facets are logically grouped into Standardized Information Management Frameworks (SIMFs).

A methodology must be associated with the framework in order to ensure the following:
  1. The 6 input categories are well researched and documented, providing, for each category, an inventory of IM "considerations". Categories are: Compliance (e.g. considerations would be IM related statutes, regulations, policies), Business Mandate (e.g. business lines), Empowerment (i.e. what end-users want and need), Interdependencies (i.e. leveraging other initiatives or projects), Constraints and Opportunities (e.g. web 2.0 technologies).
  2. Each consideration must be analyzed. In addition, each consideration must result in the identification of the impact on any, many or all of the following nine (9) IM Architecture components: Information Context (the Business Context), Information Requirements, Information Resources, Information Activities, Information Roles / Services / Products, Standards / Education / Training, Recorded Information (i.e. data, publications and records), Information Technology and Architecture Optimization.
  3. In addition to having an impact on the IM Architecture (9 components and 6 input categories), each consideration will influence the shaping of the organization's IM Vision, the choice of its IM Principles and the development of its IM Directives.
VoilĂ !