Recently, I caught up with one of our Principal Consultants, Nelson Slipher, to get his take on Information Management and why every organization should take a deeper dive into their Information Management processes.
Tyler: How do you define Information Management?
Nelson: Well, I think Information Management encompasses a wide variety of things – it’s all about how you organize what you do. Like work proposals, deliverables, project status reports, project plans, and human resource information. It includes the management of that information to provide insights into the time and financial aspects of your company. It’s really about managing the overall knowledge of everything you do, so you can think of it as Knowledge Management in many ways.
Tyler: Ok, so let me ask you this, what is bad Information Management?
Nelson: It includes not doing your due diligence collecting information about your people or your projects or not organizing it in a way that it can be easily accessed. But just having the information isn’t enough; you have to ask questions about yourself and your business and use the information to make informed decisions to improve yourself. Effective Information Management is a valuable tool that allows you to continue developing your business over time.
But just as importantly is how you manage your resources, the team who works for you. Good Information Management gives you an opportunity to improve how you leverage your resources and how you engage with them as well.
Tyler: OK, so going along with that, what is the cost of not managing information effectively?
Nelson: Well, you tend to duplicate work and you miss the opportunity to take advantage of your previous experience and making the most of your resources. More than anything it’s an opportunity cost.
Tyler: So, give me an example of how you’ve seen this whole process done both positively and negatively in the past.
Nelson: One example is how netlogx uses our team’s Core Values Index (CVI) to engage with each other and solve problems across our projects. It helps us engage with our team members and improve the way we leverage our resources. But it’s important not to use this type of information – and other personality assessments – to make hiring decisions and create a barrier to entry. This is something that a lot of organizations have fallen prey to over time. You have to remember that these things are just a tool to understand how your staff operates, and they don’t measure the abilities of an individual.
Another issue many organizations face is when they use their information to box themselves in. Past work and templates can serve as a great starting point for tackling new problems, but if you rely on them too heavily, you may miss out on opportunities to be creative when solving problems.
Tyler: In your opinion, what can more organizations be doing to improve their Information Management?
Nelson: They need to understand that it’s an incredibly valuable asset, but it takes a lot of work to capture and organize information effectively. Many organizations struggle to see the value of effective Information Management.
Tyler: So, how have you seen Information Management change since you started your career?
Nelson: Well it’s changed tremendously. Back in the day it was all managed in paper files and information was very siloed and hard to find. Just having information in an electronic format makes it visible to a lot of different stakeholders and makes it easier to organize. The electronic tools are so much better than they used to be and they’re only going to get better as time goes on.
Tyler: Thanks for your time, Nelson. Are there any other takeaways you’d like to share?
Nelson: Sure, number one: high performance companies are making use of Information Management every day and it is part of what makes them high performing. Two: the tools to effectively manage information are more reasonably priced and easier to use than they used to be. And three: good Information Management is often opportunity disguised as hard work.