Business information
management for
large businesses

Improve your business assurance by being the leader who recognises the value of business information

Every business leader wants business assurance. It’s essential for success. In fact, their business, and their career, depend on it.

The problem with knowing whether you have business assurance is that the things that undermine it can often be unseen.

What you will see are figures and reports that are inconsistent or unreliable, IT projects that blow out budgets and schedules or that don’t actually deliver the environment and functionality required, money spent to solve problems that never get solved, miscommunication or untrue information communicated internally or externally and, most worryingly, issues of legal, regulatory or reputational risk.

We’ve spent decades helping large scale organisations (banking, insurance, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, government, education) figure out why these kinds of issues arise and putting in place the management and governance to ensure they don’t happen again.

And we’ve learned one thing for sure – it’s almost always an issue of poor business information management (and no, we don’t mean data management).

What is Business Information Management?

Everyone understands that their business generates data. You either collect it from customers, acquire it through conducting your business or obtain it through purchasing or generating it.

When you and your team take that data and create reports, outputs, readings, metrics, figures or any other information that has valuable and meaningful significance for your business, we call that business information.

Great quality business information is what you need to make great business decisions.

Businesses generally think a lot about (and spend a lot on) the management of their data collections (such as software, security, hardware and IT staff).

But investing in the management of your business information is just as important to the long-term security of your business. Good business information management will ensure your business information is secure, understood and used correctly, communicated clearly and does not leave you at legal, regulatory or reputational risk.

Read A Case Study

A multinational telco improves business assurance by implementing a business information issues management system, with the help of Intraversed consultants
Read more here

The challenge of Business Information in large organisations

Several factors contribute to poor business information management.

Business leaders who blame and shame. The problems senior business leaders see are usually just symptoms of much deeper systemic issues in their business. Poor leadership in this scenario exists when a leader demands someone resolve the symptom he or she can see, seeking to find who’s to blame, and then digs no further. This is likely to have resulted in staff finding work-arounds and inefficient but necessary processes, that appease the leader but do not resolve, or even address, the real cause of the problem.

A much more effective leader engages in the challenge of problem resolving, seeking to understand the root causes. This requires that he or she develop an environment where identifying issues is encouraged and seen as a positive thing for the company.

To achieve great business information management, organisations need leaders who accept their role in ushering in change, leading by example in their language, values and approach, as the organisation moves into an era that values quality business information.

The blame and shame approach undermines the very principles needed to ensure the information you’re using to make your decisions is reliable, high quality and issue-free.

We wrote a blog about great leadership (read it here) because it’s such an important feature for organisations wanting to improve business assurance.

Siloed business function areas. In large organisations, this is almost impossible to avoid. But it can equate to massive profit leakage, doubling up business information creation and huge discrepancies in the figures and metrics between functional areas, just to mention a few outcomes.

This can be putting the business into legal, regulatory and reputational risk as well as costing you income and growth potential. Communication between your functional areas is that important!

It’s all a result of poor business information management and we’ve seen all of these issues, and many more, in our years consulting in business information management. You can read some case studies here.

Assuming information issues are a data problem. Information and data must be managed differently and by different teams, because each is driven by different elements. Your IT division should have your data covered. They ensure you have the tools, security and functionality you need to collect, store and use that data successfully. That’s what we’d call data management.

But it’s business staff that should be handling your business information management. It’s business staff who are creating it, storing it, using it and keeping it secure. They must drive the design and implementation of business information management. A data management approach will not be successful – we’ve seen it time and again.

Driving business information management change from too low in the organisational structure. For business information management to be successful, it takes everyone on the team to make it work. And it means change. We know most people will only change in ways they have to change. So if the implementation of business information management isn’t seen to be coming from the very top of the organisation, chances are there will be low compliance.

Again, this underscores the need of top-tier leaders to recognise their role in instigating and maintaining change across the entire organisation. The language and priority of business information management at C-Suite level is essential to ensure success in this endeavour.

The benefits of Business Information Management

With best practice business information management in place, you’ll have confidence that:

  • the figures you’re receiving from your business are reliable
  • figures, reports and other information are used correctly and communicated accurately, internally or externally
  • IT projects have a greater likelihood of sticking to budgets and timelines, and successfully delivering what the business requested (no workarounds required)
  • the time and cost invested in creating business information can be fully leveraged because will always be visible, locatable and clearly understood, across all your functional areas
  • issues identified with pieces of business information will be transparent to you and your staff, allowing you to know when information isn’t suitable for use
  • business information will never be used when out-of-date

Read A Case Study

A government medical department improves quality of care by standardising their business information resources with Intraversed.
Read more here

What does Business Information Management involve?

We build business information management on four foundations:

A business term glossary

A comprehensive glossary that covers all key business terms, including metrics and reporting figures with their exact calculations. Best-practice glossaries involve a structured definition that makes writing and comprehending definitions as simple and straightforward as possible.

A business information encyclopaedia

A central listing, like an encyclopaedia, of details about each piece of business information, allowing staff to find everything they need to know about a given piece of business information. This means you and your team can find the information needed, see who owns it, how to access it, what its security restrictions are, its the life-cycle stage and any outstanding issues raised against it.

Store relevant business information resources

A business information issues management system

An effective issues management system, through which staff can register an issue with a specific piece of business information, see the issue assigned to an owner to resolve and watch resolution progress, contributing to it if they wish. This means you and your entire staff can see, at a glance, if a piece of information you’re using has any issues to be aware of.

Store relevant business information resources

Governance of the business information landscape

Great governance involves a governance team who can ensure active participation and upkeep of the previous three foundations, ensuring your business assurance.

Business assurance
made easy

That sounds like a whole lot of work, without a clearly measureable ROI, so justification to invest will be difficult.

We understand. Even big businesses with big budgets need to justify the investment of money, effort and time.

It’s for this reason many of our clients hire us to help their teams build a single component of the business information management landscape, for instance building the glossary, and then move forward with a roll out of the other elements once the glossary project is successfully in place and benefit is more clearly evident.

If you can identify some of the problems you’ve been reading about here in your business, improving your business information management is likely to see improvement in quality, efficiency and cost benefit for those areas.

We’ve written some case studies that talk about the kinds of benefits business information management has delivered to our clients, including how we saved one business hundreds of thousands of dollars in software purchases they didn’t need to make after we’d completed our consultation. You can read those here.

You can read about the ways we can help your team begin to implement better business information management on our Consultancy Page, our Education Page or our Software Page.

And you can also make use of our free Business Assurance Assessment Tool, which is available for download here. It will help you work through the four foundational areas as they apply to your business environment, so you can more easily see where you need to begin investing in better business information management today.

As always, we’d love to meet you for a coffee, to talk through what the Assessment Tool revealed and what your next steps could be toward best-practice management of your business information. We’ll get you improving business assurance in no time. Why not contact us today?

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