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Effective information management is a business discipline that analyzes various types of information to use as a resource to improve business operations. The gathering of information and subsequent analysis may be done electronically or manually. Information management in today’s business environment often includes data administration, information technology or computer science business departments. These departments usually help companies control the amount of information collected or gathered through the use of electronic means. Analysis typically is performed electronically as well.
Effective information management data can be collected from internal or external business sources. Internal sources of business information may include the accounting, production, executive management or human resource departments. External sources of business information often include the economic marketplace, competitors, national organizations or a local chamber of commerce.
Companies usually develop the information gathering processes based on their specific operation needs and business environment. Attempting to use a canned or standard information gathering process may hinder the company’s ability to effectively gather information for business decisions. Companies may also develop separate information gathering strategies for the different departments or divisions of their company. Effective information management is only as effective as the system used to gather the information. Gathering too much information or gathering information that does not relate to the business decision or opportunities at hand may hinder the company’s ability to make strong business decisions. Companies may also use effective information management to correct problems or issues with business operations. Inaccurate or untimely information gathered through the information management process may also hinder companies from correcting problems or issues.
Effective information management focuses on a few simple principles when managing business information activities. These principles may include recognizing the complexity of the information, focusing on adapting business practices according to the information gathered, and assessing the tangible or intangible benefits of the information. It also is important to prioritize the information according to the needs of the business. Properly analyzing the information gathered can help companies choose the proper manager to implement business decisions and limit the amount of business risk associated with the information. Effective information management also involves continual communication between managers and employees and periodic reviews of the implementation process taken by the company based on the information. These principles can help ensure that companies properly use gathered business information to maximize operations and profits.