Informatiemanagement principes

The 7 information management principles are applicable to all types of information. Information can be data, f.i. headcount figures and content f.i. web pages or documents. Each of the principles is explained below.

Principle Information has an owner
  • Ownership ensures accountability
  • Information that has an owner is much more likely to be managed appropriately
Implication  The owner should have the following responsibilities:

  • Ensure information is available, accurate, kept up to date and complete
  • Ensure information is distributed to the right persons
  • Ensure the legal context is adhered to
  • Keep information aligned with the current and future needs of the audience
  • Keep current with the legal requirements and act accordingly

The organisation facilitates the owner with his/her responsibilities and tracks the performance of the execution.

Principle Information has 1 version of the truth
Rationale Having one version of the truth has multiple benefits:

  • Prevents people from using an out of date version
  • Easier to ensure the right people have access
  • Updating of the information is easier and can be controlled
Implication Creating, distribution and storage of copies should be prevented by:

  • Educating employees
  • Design business processes to use only original information
  • Selecting and setting up systems accordingly
  • Setting up access priviliges without as little restrictions as possible

In practice it is not always possible to prevent information being copied and distributed to more than one location. If this is the case then a process needs to be in place to update the copy or retract the copy.

Principle Information has 1 location
Rationale Information that is stored and managed in one location saves time and effort:

  • People will know where to find which information.
  • People will know the appropriate to store and manage information
  • Educate employees in which location information can be found
  • Guidelines for administrators in which location information needs to be stored and managed
  • Reduce the number of possible locations

Typically there will be different locations because different types of information require different functionality. F.i. documents need to be supported differently than financial data.

Principle Information is accessible unless…
Rationale One of the major annoyances for people is not having access to information, because this impacts peoples ability to perform their jobs. Information must be accessible unless there is a valid reason. Potential reasons are:

  • It is personal identifiable information, f.i. credit card information or medical information
  • It is secret or confidential information that may cause major damage to your organisation, f.i. merger and acquisition plans
  • The information is not owned by your organisation and you have legal obligations to limit access, f.i. analyst reports

Information that is not accessible should be limited. Complex and expensive controls are only applied where needed. Ensuring that people are more likely to adopt systems.

  • Stimulate information sharing within the organisation
  • Information needs to classified using clear guidelines
  • Information owners ensure information is created to reach a broad audience
  • Access privileges are setup to prevent unnecessary barriers. This reduces the maintenance effort and costs for access privileges.
Principle Information has a status
Rationale People should be able to determine information’s status. This means that business processes need to set the status of information. The benefits of information with a status are:

  • It is easier to determine if information can be trusted
  • It is easier to distribute
  • It is easier to provide access to the information
  • It becomes more efficient finding of information
  • Develop and communicate standards regarding the meaning of a status
  • Develop and communicate guidelines how information can change status
  • Systems are configured to store and maintain status information
Principle Information has a lifecycle
Rationale Information has a limited time period in which it is valuable. Information’s lifecycle must be actively monitored and managed. Especially the ending of information is problematic for organisations. For example the following issues could exist:

  • Information that should have been destructed is still around, leading to fines and impact your brand image.
  • Information that should be retained is unintentionally destroyed, leading to issues with authorities or effort to recreate the information
  • There is too much irrelevant information, increasing the effort to find information
  • Retention periods needs to be defined and adhered to. Keeping information indefinitely has no added value in most situations.
  • Employees or designated persons must be provided with sufficient time to (periodically) clean up
  • Creating awareness with employees and management that clean up of information without business value is worthwhile
  • Select and configure systems with retention and notification functionality
Principle Information can be transferred
Rationale Information that has no audience is not worth creating. Information the organisation cannot use will cost extra effort and time.
Implication  The owner has to ensure information has the following characteristics:

  • It is complete
  • It is readable
  • It is unambiguous
  • It is not dependent on author and/or owner
  • It can be interpreted independent of other information

For the owner this means he/she regularly checks with the audience whether the information fulfils their needs. The owner can also setup review and approval processes.

Applying the Information Management Principles will help organisation to improve collaboration, reduce compliance risks, facilitate internal and external communication and reduce costs.