If you are old enough to remember what life was like before the advent of what is affectionately referred to as the ‘information super highway’, you will know what it was like to wait for the evening news or the morning newspaper to find out what was going on in the world. There was a general acceptance of the time required to receive information regarding the local, national and global current affairs. The same could be said for direct correspondence. The only options were posting a letter, sending a facsimile, telegram or a message to someone’s pager. How times have changed when it comes to information management – in every possible way.
The internet changed absolutely everything, especially when it comes to the inflow and outflow of information instantaneously around the world. The rapid continuous development and advancement of cloud-based systems and technology at lightning speed has a plethora of impacts on the individual, groups and organisations. Borders, time zones, oceans and continents have been blurred by our ability to communicate, connect and connect anyone at any time.
This point is well articulated by the Sydney Morning Herald in an article published in January 2017 entitled “the long inexorable decline of the landline in Australia”. Interestingly, the article states the following (verbatim):
- Data released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on November 30 (2016) shows that 5.78 million Australians – about 31 per cent – have no fixed landline at home
- The trend to abandon the landline seems inexorable. ACMA reports that in 2009 nine in 10 households had a fixed landline. Recent ACMA surveys show two-thirds of consumers now say there is a fixed-line phone at their home
- The past 20 years has seen a revolution in personal telecommunications. The clunky brick-like mobile phones used by Wall Street bankers in the 1980s have given way to the magic little boxes in our pockets with previously unimaginable computing power
- By one estimate an iPhone 6 has enough computing power to guide 120 million Apollo missions to the moon, simultaneously.
As the article advocates, the change to communication patters, trends and associated technologies has fundamentally shifted the mindset in terms of how, when and what information is shared and managed. However, with the proliferation of information flow on steroids 24 hours a day, comes substantial risks associated with how information is managed particularly in a cloud-based environment. This is a critical consideration when scoping, designing and implementing your information management strategy to meet the information requirements of your organisation.
McKinsey & Company have published an article entitled “protecting information in the cloud” which states the following (verbatim):
- As attractive as cloud environments can be, they also come with new types of risks. Executives are asking whether external providers can protect sensitive data and also ensure compliance with regulations about where certain data can be stored and who can access the data. CIOs and CROs are also asking whether building private clouds creates a single point of vulnerability by aggregating many different types of sensitive data onto a single platform
- Using the cloud creates data-protection challenges in public-cloud services as well as private-cloud environments. However, traditional platforms at most organisations have significant information risks that can be mitigated by moving to a more highly scaled and automated environment.
McKinsey & Company purport that a risk management approach to your information management strategy requires changes across several dimensions. They published the following diagram to further clarify their philosophy in this area:
Understanding the risks associated with your information management strategy is critical. However, the most important consideration above all else is to actively listen and understand your workforce and other key stakeholders to ensure that you accurately understand their information management requirements. Without doing this, companies run the risk of developing what they consider to be ‘best practice’ information systems that won’t engage the users that the systems are primarily designed for.
FiveP support the following approach towards active listening which can be utilised to effectively understand and determine what your workforce and other key stakeholders require to perform their roles successfully. There is a big difference between hearing and genuinely listening. The following acronym is widely recognised and describes this further:
The Dalai Lama so eloquently stated the following:
At the end of the day, understanding the technology journey, the resultant impacts on mindset and expectations, underpinned by a risk management approach will ensure a strong likelihood of developing an information strategy which meets your company’s strategic objectives. However, the glue which will hold all this together is undoubtedly your ability to actively listen to your constituents to ensure their needs are met and exceeded in this regard.
As Managing Director of FiveP, I can proudly say that having a clear understanding of what our customers’ needs are is the foundation of FiveP’s vision and strategy. Please make sure to contact us and I’d be very happy to listen to how we could help your organisation to achieve the best outcome for everyone.