What is an “Information Strategy”?
An information strategy is a strategy used to align your data to your business processes at key information points. The strategy should be driven primarily by your business process and its needs, and not the IT systems.
One size does not fit all. Different business models need different information strategies. A high-volume consumer package goods (CPG) company uses different metrics to run the organization than does a lower volume durable goods manufacturer. However, all organizations are reliant on high quality data coming from source systems including the transactional, master data and metadata.
Many companies think of the information that comes out of their systems as a derivative output and not as a key driver on how to design their systems and integrated business processes. Companies are dependent on information not only from their internal systems, but also from external sources. These data sources can be on the supply side, the demand side, regulatory and of growing importance in today’s world for some companies, the Internet and social media. Determining how this data fits within your information strategy is key to the organization’s success.
Integration with all data source systems, such as an ERP system, is a critical component of your information strategy. Many organizations look at business intelligence as an output of their core systems. This is analogous to organizations looking at profitability as something that just happens at the end of the business cycle, and not a key component of driving the business cycle. An information strategy looks across all IT systems, business processes and other source data such as third-party data to ensure that the information that comes out of these systems is integrated and offers the information needed to drive the organization.
More than an “IT” challenge
Information is the integration of data with your business process and strategic viewpoint. Many organizations look at business intelligence as an IT function. However, IT has a subset of this complex equation. It is as critical to understand your business process and how and why the data is used, as it is to provide the data itself. Data in itself is fairly useless. Data in the right context turns into information. Your IT organization can provide tremendous volumes of data, but without context and without the blending of master data and metadata and business process; it is still just data. Finding the right business partners and context that turns the data into information is fundamental to your success.