Information management has become an integral part of organizations in this technological age. An adequate information dissemination system will make it easier for organizations to attain an efficient management process.
This information can be in various forms ranging from the number of employees or customers to the number of sales made. At one point or another, the organization will need to access this information to know whether or not it is achieving its goals.
In this article, I will shed light on the meaning of information management, the information lifecycle, the purpose of Information management, and its benefits in organizations.
What is the Meaning of Information Management?
Information management is a set of processes, technologies, policies, and practices used to collect, store, organize, and distribute information.
The main goal is to help an organization identify and exploit the value of information to its full extent, especially during the information lifecycle. The information can be in digital form, such as audio and videos, or physical form, such as papers, books, and documents.
Information management also focuses on how the information produced and owned by an organization is distributed to different audiences, such as individual employees and computing devices, such as servers and computers.
What is Information Lifecycle?
Information lifecycle refers to all the stages through which information passes during dissemination from one person to another within an organization.
The information lifecycle comprises information creation or collection, classification, storage, use, archiving, and destruction or deletion. Each stage has a vital role in effective Management of information and provides an overview of what happens to organization data.
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Stages of information lifecycle
Before information is passed from its source to the final person or user within an organization, it passes through the following stages;
In this stage, organizations create and collect data from various sources, e.g., customers’ sales records, the number of people who show interest in the organization’s product or service, the number of employees in should be on leave, etc.
Data can be created;
Manual collection occurs when a user enters information by hand or physically into an organization’s information system.
An information system automatically generates data, and it is stored in the organization’s database.
Corporate data can also be collected from different reliable sources. The data sources include sales records, social media, customer input, and the internet. The information is then organized for storage and retrieval purposes.
Before storing information, organizations must classify the created or collected information. Classification means that an organization’s information is grouped according to the risk such information may pose to the organization. Classification makes the access and retrieval of data more efficient while ensuring better information management.
Classification can further be grouped into confidential, internal, or public classification.
Confidential information is highly hidden from the public. Such information must be protected, and such information is only exposed to members of the organization’s management. Employees need to be given access to such information. Confidential information includes customer data, partners or vendors, financial information, product formulas, new technologies, patents, etc.
Internal information is accessible by the management and employees, provided they have been granted access by a member of the management. This information is not accessible to the public. Some internally classified information includes internal memos, business plans, the company’s bye-laws, etc.
Public information is made accessible to any person regardless of their format or form. They are information an organization is willing to share with the general public. Public information includes an organization’s newsletter, magazine, brochures, product testimonials, etc.
At this stage, organizations store information they have collected and classified appropriately and securely. An organization can store its information online using cloud services or the company’s database using hard disk drives, USB memory sticks, DVDs, etc.
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In this phase, the stored information can be used by different people. It can be viewed, shared, and modified by users. The information can also be analyzed and used to generate reports for the organization.
When organization information is not retrieved and used frequently, it is archived. Archiving information ensures that the information is only made available when it is required for use, ensuring that the latest and most relevant data is easier to access.
In this stage, an organization removes data from its system after confirming that it is no longer needed. This stage of the information lifecycle is important because it reduces the amount of information an organization must store and the potential cost of maintaining it.
The information lifecycle improves an organization’s control over its information. Although information typically passes through all these stages during its lifespan, the process is not strictly linear since information can be subjected to multiple stages at any time.
Purpose of Information Management in Organizations
The purpose of information management in organizations is:
- To create value for businesses or organizations by supporting decision-making. This value provides up-to-date and accurate information that guides the decision-making process.
- To protect and secure organizational information. Information security helps organizations to avoid data loss, security breaches, and financial loss.
- To efficient information system. An efficient information system makes it easy to access specific information using keywords or phrases relevant to the search.
- To ensure that organizations comply with laws and regulations to avoid financial and legal penalties.
- To reduce the costs of managing their information resources and to improve organizational efficiency.
Benefits of Information Management in Organizations
Proper management of information helps organizations better analyze and leverage their data and make data-driven decisions. It also helps organizations protect their vital information, operate efficiently, and achieve their intended goals.
Other benefits are;
Improved employee performance and productivity
Management of information ensures less time is taken to retrieve and share information between staff and teams. It also decreases the time employees take to access information when needed.
Reduced information risk
Management of information protects organizational data from physical and electronic threats by preventing unauthorized access to organizational information.
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Management of information helps organizations to get data from reliable sources. These data are used for making strategic decisions and achieving intended organizational goals.
Reduced operational costs
Management of information helps organizations reduce costs that would otherwise be required for filing equipment, filing system staff, and office space to maintain an organized filing system. Reduced operational cost is especially seen in how organizations share information with remote employees.
Ease in adopting new information management technologies
Management of information allows organizations to adopt new technologies for managing information efficiently. These technologies include artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, or new technological services or products.
Proper management of information helps organizations to exploit their information and easily understand market needs. Understanding the market needs helps them plan accordingly and promote service and product innovation to meet the need.
Information management is very important as it improves organizational efficiency and helps to minimize risks and costs.
The use of an efficient information management system is an ever-dynamic approach since most organizations can suddenly scale up or down. However, with strong leadership, staff-oriented solutions can be used when passing across information needed for the organization’s progress.
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