Information Management

Information Management

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Term2.png INFORMATION MANAGEMENT
Information Management is the process of selecting, capturing, categorising, indexing and storing information in order to improve the distribution of information to one or more audiences. Managing information allows you to improve organisation and planning over the control, structure, processing, reporting and evaluation of information activities in order to meet objectives and facilitate decision making. To do this, you need to follow the 3 principles of managing information. You will need to evaluate the:

1) relevance of information. This involves evaluating how relevant the piece of information you have is to the decision making process. You will need to follow this up with categorisation, as you must sort information so that you get a clear idea of what information needs to be passed on and what needs to be stored and/or preserved.

2) flow of information distribution. Once the relevance is assessed and the information categorised, the distribution of this information has to be managed. Who needs to receive what piece of information? Do the decision makers need to receive every single piece of available information, or is a summary enough?

There must be a plan in place to manage the distribution process throughout multiple channels (Paper, Internet, Extranet, Intranet, e-Mail, Mobile devices etc...). This permits the control over the flow of information which permits the distribution to the right people at the right time.

3) accuracy of the delivered information. It may be enticing to give an extremely accurate figure and leave an impression of precision and trustworthiness, e.g. when budgeting and predicting expenses giving a figure like $12,374. However, precise information does not always give an accurate impression of uncertainty or risk. Although this may seem contradictory, information that acknowledges the potential uncertainty in a figure or piece of data, gives a person a better overview of the possible risks or challenges that may occur in the future and this will have a direct impact on his/her decision making. For example instead of giving a figure such as the one mentioned above, $12,000 ± $500 (anything between $11,500 and $12,500) would be more helpful as it gives an accurate enough figure whilst also acknowledging the possibility of a potential risk. Hence it is advisable to always try and demonstrate the potential risk / challenges that may occur if you are presenting information to decision making managers or clients. [1]

Furthermore, information needs to be correctly stored and preserved by using various classification methods.


Toolkit.png The Information Management process

1) Set yourself objectives

  • Determine what your objectives are.
  • Decide what decisions you need to make in order to achieve these objectives.


2) Select and Capture information

  • Once objectives are set, select information to help you or others in the decision making process.
  • Gather information which is either human-generated (office documents, forms, media) or application-generated (e-Forms, Finance, XML).


3) Assess and classify information

  • Of the selected information, determine which items are required to support the decision making process for meeting your objectives. Ask yourself, which piece are relevant to the objectives? This quality control is imperative to ensure that only the best information is filtered through to the target audience.
  • Classify your information and data by using various cataloguing tools (indexing, input design, categorisation)


4) Manage the information

  • Organise the information into two different categories:
    • Storage & Preservation (Library Services, Repositories)
    • Distribution (Paper, Internet, Extranet, Intranet, Portal, e-Mail, Fax, Mobile devices)
  • Once information has been classified manage the workflow accordingly.
    • Stored information needs to be processed and preserved in databases, repositories, file systems for electronic copies etc... or archives for physical data like paper files, film etc...
    • Information that needs to be distributed needs to be managed so that it is delivered at the right time to the right people. This control over the flow of information is an important factor in ensuring the decision making process of the audience.

5) Distributing the Information

  • Set yourself a timeline for the distribution of information. It isn’t always advisable to deliver all pieces of information in one big lump. Sometimes it is more effective to let information trickle through to your target audience making it easier for them to digest.
  • The delivery of information may be accomplished by using various methods and technologies such as:
    • Distributing the data can be via physical means, such as paper copies, by fax, pamphlets, reports; or alternatively by using electronic means such as e-mail, social media, intranet, e-Statements, mobile devices etc...
    • Data transformation technologies, which can be used to format information so that it fits the target audience more accordingly.
  • Information distributed needs to be accurate, while also taking into consideration any risk-taking or challenges that may occur. [2]


References

  1. [1] Managing Information - A practical guide (Accessed 10 December 2012)
  2. [2] www.aiim.org "What is Information Management? (11 December 2012)