Your Information Management initiative is not getting attention. What to do about it?

You may have experienced this yourself.  Sometimes an Information Management initiative starts off right from the beginning and sometimes it doesn’t… There can be a real sense of urgency for example not being able to locate large contracts with clients or incorrect work instructions that led to serious safety issues. These are easy to explain to an organisation’s executives and co-workers, and will get the right level of management attention.

But sometimes there is no urgency or an obvious ‘burning platform’ and yet there are benefits for example efficiency gains, information quality improvements, less risk of reputation damage or enabling new ways of working together. Some of the signs are:

  • The benefits have to be explained to many stakeholders
  • No one is stepping up to take ownership
  • This is not the first attempt
  • The issue has been around for many years
  • The main driving force is from a supporting function like IT

When you experience one or more signs above, your initiative is at risk of failure from the start. This is because you are not able to clearly relate to one or more real business problems and therefore get the attention you need… This should be at least a ‘yellow light’ for you.

Sometimes organisations continue despite the signs by using the following strategies:

  • Start with a launching ‘customer’ that gets its way to define the IM solution, then try to ‘sell’ it. The solution may fit some but is unlikely to fit all ‘customers’ causing rollout challenges.
  • Force the IM solution onto the organisation, resulting in resistance to the solution or even unsupported alternatives being used.
  • Allow everyone to tailor the IM solution and thus creating a support challenge and typically not providing a real contribution to the organisation’s goals.

To get off to a good start, take the following steps to limit the risk of spending significant amounts of effort and resources:

  1. Take an honest look at the sense of urgency. Is there a real problem that needs to be solved? Can you attach to other initiatives that have an information management challenge included? For example an operational excellence or digital workplace initiative.
  2. Find the owner of the real problem. Is there someone that has the will, the mandate and the budget to act? If you need to do a hard sell then the person may not be the right person
  3. Work with the owner to clearly define how IM contributes to solving the problem. What are the main causes? Is the data/information available? Are persons hoarding information? Is management supportive to IM tasks?