Part 1: Tying Strategic Business Objectives to Information Management Strategies

Information is one of an organization’s most valuable assets. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise, given the amounts that organizations invest in creating, managing and protecting it. But measuring the value of information on the other hand is not a clearly established practice, except for the accounting function who look into Intellectual property value.

So the question arises, how do we extend the fundamental information valuation model to prioritize information management within an organization? 

Like physical assets, not all information is the same, or made in the same way. Some information is clearly more important than others. For example, R&D information in an engineering organization and rules and procedures in a business services organization, maybe deemed higher value versus tweets and generic email exchanges between co-workers. This leads us to classify information based on the various values they provide.

Information as an asset

Furthermore, these values can be directly tied to the various business objectives that an organization may have, and tied to the bigger overarching goal – rather than a standalone goal. The direct link between information management and business objectives has many times been overlooked. 

Over the next two blogs, we’ll provide an introduction to how both can be merged, and practical considerations for any business looking to gain greater value from their information.

Various ways to measure the many values of information

Depending on the nature of the organization and how information is used we can broadly classify the many ways to measure the value of information. An organization can choose based on its strategic objectives which value they would like to harness first and in which order:

Intrinsic value – How correct, complete and exclusive is this information? 

This property can be associated with information very easily; information is valuable only when it is complete, accurate, timely and exclusive. In regulated industries, there is a great emphasis on using information which possesses this value for conducting day to day business. Using information which doesn’t have integrity could result in corporate and regulatory violations and fines. Systems are put in place to monitor flow of information, its access, and trace changes happening to it over a period of time. Hence, technology and analytics can dramatically reduce risk and costs for such organizations in their quest for data integrity. Clearly, the bigger business objective here is to maintain and secure high corporate and regulatory compliance and enable competitive differentiation. 

Business value – How good and relevant is this information for efficient business operations? 

This property relates to the use of information for conducting day-to-day business in an organization. Internal business information needs to offer availability and collaboration aspects to ensure seamless operations. To empower teams to work across silos and efficiently there is a need for systems to capture information, manage and deliver it in an easy manner. Knowledge is lost when systems are not integrated and knowledge creators work in silos away from knowledge users. In short, to enable one organization’s strategic objectives, intelligent information authoring and reviewing systems to author, review and deliver information becomes the stepping stone. 

Performance value –How does this information effect key business drivers? 

The reason we need to measure the performance value of information is because we are looking to support higher efficiency, better customer focus, better employee experience and higher visibility into systems and tools to empower everyone better in a distributed work environment. Higher efficiency at work can be enabled by reducing redundant information, ensuring clean information as well as effective and fast information search. Organizations are consolidating systems to have an end to end view, but this might not be a one size fits all solution. What works best for marketing functions might not fit the requirements for finance. Organizations should look into technology which provides holistic solutions to their business problem and look at how their content strategy and technology can support and solve it. 

Cost value – What would it cost if we leak, lose or misapply this information? 

Security around information is a critical aspect which can be used to assign value to information with respect to catastrophes around it such as, what cost incurs if this information leaks to competitors? What happens if the wrong information gets printed on pharmaceutical labels or what if incorrect rules were used to audit a client? Besides several wasted hours of subject matter experts and the rework, litigations and bad reputation can bring down an organization to its knees. In organizations where information is their core product, security aspects of systems used to manage information is of critical importance. In other words, cost value of information is a value which is directly linked to the highly regulated nature of businesses. Hence, organizations who operate in a regulated space should be looking into the cost value of information as a key criteria when making business decisions around systems and technologies that deal with information. 

Market value – what top line gains could we get from selling or trading this information? 

Several organizations have successfully built their entire revenue model around monetizing data – Google and Facebook are the famous ones that come to mind, but there are other ways to connect information to an organization’s top line. More often than not organizations are sitting on a wealth of information which they could use to further augment their revenues. Being able to find a relation between client data and various other services used by them, organizations can generate patterns which can be used as templates to offer similar services to the identical customer group. This clearly could mean accelerated sales, or a completely new service offering in the case of a consulting company. 

Economic value – How does this information contribute to the bottom line? 

When customer-facing agents can provide accurate and precise information to a client they can close deals faster, better and ultimately provide a better customer experience. With a growing information overload across organizations in the world, finding accurate, timely information (and particularly highly contextual) is growing in importance and systems which enable that should be on the radar of C-level executives. Information management technologies and its impact on the bottom line are directly linked, and analytics can be used to monitor and harness this value further.

Role of content and data in an organization

Content has the power to complement and complete the picture painted by numerical data in an organization to drive various initiatives across the business. Numerical data and content together constitute the core – which needs to be addressed to derive the highest value from information in an organization. Based on the goal of the organization, they can choose to monetize content and data, as well as drive business objectives from knowing where to focus. 

In our following blog, we will discuss the various ways to manage different forms of content and data and what makes content fit for the objectives in an organization. 

At SDL, we offer SDL Tridion DX to manage both structured and unstructured information. SDL Tridion DX comprises SDL Tridion Docs, our component content management solution for managing structured content and SDL Tridion Sites for managing unstructured content. Omni-channel delivery is facilitated by our dynamic delivery technology. As a result, we can deliver one of the most powerful information experiences, agnostic of format or platform, to enterprise organizations.

Read part 2 if you'd like to learn more about the core aspects of content, and how they can impact the overall productivity of an enterprise.