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Information Management Framework

Establish Information Management Framework with David Bowman’s consulting methodology for process and productivity improvement.

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This site is designed for Information Technology professionals and management consultants who want to learn how to establish a management framework that will maximize return on information management investment.

Site Content

This site provides a methodology and checklist for information management, data governance and data warehouse strategic roadmap planning.

It introduces things to consider when engaging consulting firms, provides a step-by-step description of each strategic planning task and discusses recommendations and road map planning.

What is Information?

what is information

What is Information Management?

Information management is a discipline that governs accountability for the structure and design, storage, movement, security, quality, delivery and usage of information required for management and business intelligence purposes.

This sounds like a mouthful  but in reality, it's very similar to other core business management areas such as Financial Management or Human Resource Management. These all have established disciplines that define things such as laws, regulations, policies, rules, guidelines, standards, best practices, accountability, governance and monitoring processes. These are all required to ensure successful management of the respective corporate resource.

A big difference between information management and other management functions is that they have been around a lot longer and the disciplines have become firmly established over time.

Information is a valuable corporate asset and getting the right information, to the right people at the right time is a key management objective.

Achieving this objective requires a good strategic plan, a solid management framework, the adoption of industry best practices, process and methodology and ongoing management oversight.

What is Strategic Planning?

Strategy is defined as a plan of action or policy in business to achieve a major aim. To establish any strategy, we need to know what is driving the need, where we are today in terms of the need, and what actions are required to move from today's situation to where we want to be.

Establishing an information management strategy follows the same process. We need to understand:
  • What is creating the need for change, sometimes called business drivers e.g. if the need is to improve productivity, then perhaps the emphasis will be more management oriented with less emphasis on technology;
  • The current situation in terms of technology and architecture, process and methodology and organizational readiness for change; and
  • What resources are available, and time line required,  to change the current situation to achieve the desired objectives.
Strategic Planning Firms

Organizations frequently engage management consulting firms to help with planning. Some have existing relationships with large companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Accenture, or IBM Global Services and will sometimes call them to propose an approach. These types of firms usually have evolved a set of best practices and have the expertise to create an information management strategy.

Many organizations also have established relationships with Information Technology  staffing firms such as ManpowerGroup, Experis, TekSystems or the Judge Group. Some of these firms also have consulting practices and provide a viable alternative to the major consulting firms. These firms are frequently staffed with former "Big Three" consultants and several have consulting practices dedicated to business intelligence or data management.  Some of these consulting practices have also evolved best practices and they have the expertise to provide strategic planning services.

There are also some consulting firms that specialize in industry specific areas such as aerospace, financial information or health care information management. Firms such as Cobalt Talon can provide health care information management consultancy services based on extensive domain knowledge and are a viable alternative for health care organizations seeking a unique combination of healthcare business expertise and technical knowledge.

Strategic Planning Process

The objective of a information strategy study is to assess current situation in terms of technology and architecture, process and methodology and organizational readiness and then recommend an appropriate course of action, or road map,  that will help  achieve business objectives. Strategic assessment’s might involve a variety of related areas e.g.
  • Enterprise data warehouse assessment;
  • Business intelligence;
  • Information management; and
  • Data Governance.
Information Management Strategic Planning Process

Project Planning

The objective of this planning task is to ensure common understanding and commitment to the project management approach required to complete strategic planning.

A strategy study should typically take about 4-7 weeks to complete depending upon the number of business areas.  Some form of plan is required to ensure that all planning tasks are defined  and understood before the study commences.

Planning tasks involve creating a project management plan to secure management commitment for the approach, schedule and cost of the strategic planning process. This plan should be completed by internal consultants who are tasked with creating the strategy or by external consulting firms prior to commencing work.

Business Driver Assessment

The objective of this task is to gain a full understanding of the key business drivers for the information management study.

Current Situation Assessment

The objective of a current situation assessment is to gain full  understanding of  technology and architecture, process and methodology and organizational readiness for change. It's important to know exactly where you are today in order to recommend changes to achieve management objectives.

Technology And Architecture

Data Architecture

Data architecture describes how data is stored and used at every step of the data warehousing and business intelligence process from the operational systems to the analytic applications. 

The objective of this task is gain a good understanding of the  current data architecture and database management technology and compare this with best practices to determine what changes are required.
Data Integration

A data integration solution involves obtaining and storing data, and the architecture and processes required to support those activities. Data integration e.g. extract, transform and load (ETL), change data capture, and cleansing tools are commonly used in support of data acquisition.

The objective of this task is gain a good understanding of the  current data acquisition technology and architecture and compare this with best practices to determine what changes are required.

Information Delivery

Information delivery architecture is the foundation for deriving business value from data warehouse assets.  This architecture must facilitate whatever data analysis and reporting is required.  In some cases, the architecture may require a combination of technologies to support reporting and report distribution, business intelligence, and enterprise performance management.

The objective of this task is gain a good understanding of the current business intelligence or information delivery technology and compare this with best practices to determine what changes are required.

Process and Methodology
Operations

Information management and data warehousing solutions implies a dedicated production operations staff with a centralized call system with routing and escalation for tracking and responding to customer calls. Most organizations find it valuable to centralize their operations processing, and share the same resources such as a data center, operations and help desk staff, and supporting call systems and job management systems.

The objective of this task is to examine the current Information Technology operations environment and compare this with with best practices to determine what changes are required.

Methodology

Methodology covers a wide range of processes, including development and change management methodologies.  It governs the development process, including both custom development and package implementation, and facilitates the transition into production operations.

The objective of this task is to identify what, if any, changes are required to ensure that the methodology can support strategic recommendations.

Data Warehouse Management

Information management and data warehouse management is a process that includes both a project management methodology and a product management focus. 

The project management aspect of managing a solution is mainly the science of logistics and is both a planning and an execution exercise. 

The product management component is an ownership, accountability, and champion role that continually facilitates collaboration with business units and communicates a strong vision and brand for Information Management, Data Governance and Data Warehousing.

This task will identify what, if any, changes are required to ensure that Data Warehouse Management can support strategic recommendations.
Data Governance

Data Governance is a key element of an Information Management Strategy. The main principle behind this function is that data should be managed as a corporate asset. 

Data owners and data stewards have a central role in building and managing information management capability and for ensuring the effective use of these resources. 

A Data Steward is responsible for defining, integrating, cleansing and synchronizing data from multiple sources and also monitors data quality and takes corrective action when necessary. A Data Steward is also responsible for intervening in, and facilitating the resolution of customer data management issues, such as conflicting data definitions, ownership, usage, etc.

The objective of this task is to introduce data governance concepts and identify what, if any, changes are required to ensure that data governance can support information management and business intelligence management.

Organizational Readiness

The objective of this task is to identify what, if any, changes are required to ensure that the organizational structure can support the strategic recommendations in terms of:
  • Data Administration structure; and
  • Data Acquisition Development structure.
Solution Alternative Assessment

After business drivers are understood, and the current situation is evaluated, various solution alternatives may be reviewed to provide an unbiased look at technology and architecture. Organizations sometimes believe they can only achieve objectives thru the acquisition of expensive technology and are usually pleasantly surprised to see that existing technology, with slight modifications, may also be appropriate.

The objective of this task is to provide solution alternatives to help provide the rationale for the recommendations.

Recommendations and Roadmap Planning

Recommendations are usually a collaborative set of recommendations for the best use of organization assets to achieve objectives.

This task should also include recommendations for the acquisition of new assets if there are any gaps and specific actions/projects required to implement the Vision. Recommendations should include high-level timeliness and estimated costs. 

Impact Analysis

A information management or data warehouse initiative frequently involves organizational change and changing roles and responsibilities.

The objective of this task is to identify organizational changes required to achieve the information management or data warehouse vision.

Roadmap Planning

Successful implementation of Information management strategy or data warehousing initiative requires a sound information management plan that defines accountabilities, deliverables, time line and cost.

The objective of this task is to complete implementation planning tasks and secure agreement to proceed.

Strategy Wrap-Up

The objective of this task is to finalize all documentation and present to  for final approval.  Work activity involves working sessions with selected stakeholders to present recommendations and secure common understanding and consensus.

Summary...

Information is a valuable corporate asset and getting the right information, to the right people at the right time is a key management objective.

Achieving this objective requires a good information management strategy, a solid management framework, the adoption of industry best practices, process and methodology and ongoing management oversight.

An information management strategy is based on an intensive planning phase where we analyze the current information management situation, develop recommendations for the desired situation, and present an implementation action plan.

This site provided a methodology and checklist that will ensure the successful creation of a road map for information management initiatives such as data governance, data warehousing, master data management and business intelligence. It introduced things to consider when engaging consulting firms, provided a step-by-step description of each strategic planning task and discussed recommendations and road map planning.