Hierarchy of Information Management Needs
Information management in an enterprise has become a daunting challenge for CIOs because of:
- Rapid growth of data driven by voice, video, and the structured and now unstructured data collected for analytics
- Complexity of the enterprise infrastructure driven by mobility, data center virtualization and the cloud
- Risks due to privacy, security, eDiscovery and compliance
To help CIOs tackle the challenge of information management we present an information management hierarchy of needs (see picture) when satisfied helps the enterprise achieve Information Nirvana. As with Maslow’s theory, IT organizations are motivated to address unsatisfied information management needs. Also very importantly lower level needs have to be satisfied before higher level needs are addressed. The consequence of not doing so will be poor economies of scale for storage and information management, continuous cycles of build, re-architecture, re-build and constant firefighting.
The CIO’s task is not done till needs at all levels are satisfied. Systematically addressing the needs at every step gives the enterprise an Information Advantage at every step. The final level is the long term realization of the elusive Business Value of Information. This is Information Nirvana.
At the most basic level enterprise data needs a storage foundation that is secure, scalable, and available and enables flexible access. The storage will have to meet the latency and bandwidth needs of the application use case. Information security and privacy has to be assured by this storage foundation.
The need for improved efficiencies and reduced operational cost of storage and management drives the adoption of system-driven processes. A process approach that is repeatable and consistent is also essential for institutionalizing best practices in the organization for the long term.
An enterprise with a secure foundation and system-driven processes for cost efficiencies still has risk associated with information that it retains. The risk of information is managed through the development of holistic policies for access, retention, destruction, etc, across all information and applied consistently across information types, media and formats. Policy control enables information governance and helps organizations proactively manage information liability.
The ultimate goal of managing data and information is to derive business insight and to make information actionable. A data driven business will have a competitive advantage by using data and information to improve customer facing business processes, reduce time to market, and make the business agile.
Enterprise can develop a framework for deployment of technologies based on this hierarchy of information management needs. Others have advocated information management maturity models and information management journey approaches with similar goals to help enterprises address their huge information management challenge.
I feel that an organization that goes about systematically addressing the lower level information management needs will reduce churn and more efficiently and predictably realize business value from information. The organization as a result will also have the processes, culture and architecture in place to better adapt and evolve as the needs change. What do you think of viewing information management as a hierarchy of needs?