As I described in my last post, the quantity of information being generated globally and within each of our organisations is absolutely overwhelming. All good managers facing a large problem start by trying to break the task down into manageable pieces. The question information managers face is what is the right starting point for breaking enterprise information into such manageable pieces. I’ve seen organisations start with technology (structured database, records, documents, email, HTML etc.). I’ve seen others start by the subject being covered (customer, finance, human resources, product etc.).
A better approach is to ask how the information is used by the business. Over many years, I have come to the conclusion that there are four ways that information is used.
The first use is the measurement of performance from executive to operations (for example the Balanced Scorecard). The second use is to navigate the organisation via location, product, staff, customer or other common concepts (for example Master Data or Dimensional Models). The third is to describe the business in an abstract or atomic way (for example third normal form data models in the data warehouse or the Enterprise Content Management repository). Finally, the fourth is the operational system data which sits in front of the customer or production-line process.