Principle #3: Information has one location

Information has one location

This is the third blog of a series regarding Information Management principles: Information has one location. This one is closely related to Principle #2 – One version of the truth. In most organisations there are multiple locations to store and manage information such as Customer Relationship Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, your Intranet, Sharing Platforms of your partners and many more. This in one of the cause of people making many copies (principle #2) because it can be unclear where information should be stored and also where people can search for information they need for their daily work.

This principle is especially to address this pain point. The one location principle should be applied to each type of information. This implies there should only be one location where information of a certain type should be stored and managed. This means that the organisation needs to make it clear to co-workers what to store where and especially why.

The “why” is important because at first glance it may not be apparent for each group of co-workers. For example it can be efficient to store all your documents within your Human Resources application if you work for Human Resources because you work with it every day. However when working in multi-disciplinary projects using the HR system to share documents not be very practical or even not allowed due to the risk of exposing sensitive information.

This is also a significant challenge for the IT department because many applications have overlapping functionality. This challenge should be addressed as part of the overall IT architecture and actively monitored.

In an ideal world this would mean there is only one application where all information is stored, managed and found. However this is typically not achievable and therefore will require co-workers to switch between applications. A potential solution for efficiently finding information can be the use of search, portal and data warehousing technology that brings information together from various sources.