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Driving Third Wave Businesses: Setting an information strategy as well as 5 ways to measure success


Business in the “Third Wave”


ThirdWave.GIFAs adjunct faculty at the University of Phoenix, I get to talk to students about the future of marketing and communications. In our dialogues, we discuss how business success increasingly depends upon understanding and leveraging information. To make things more concrete, I share in particular the work of Alvin Toffler. In “The Third Wave”, Toffler asserts that we live in a world where competition will increasingly take place on the currency and usability of information.


Toffler suggests, in a recent interview, that “given the acceleration of change, companies, individuals, and governments base many of their daily decisions on obsoledge—knowledge whose shelf life has expired.” He continues by stating that “companies everywhere are trying to put a price on certain forms of intellectual property. But if…knowledge is at the core of the money economy, then we need to understand knowledge much better than we do now. And tiny insights can yield huge outputs”.



tiny insights.JPGDriving information management in the Information Age


To me, this drives to three salient conclusions for information age businesses.


1)   Information needs to drive further down in organizations because top decision makers do not have the background to respond at the pace needed by change.

2)   Information needs to be available faster which means that we need to make preprocessed, unstructured information readily available.

3)   Information needs to be available when the organization is ready for it. For multi-national enterprises this means “Always On”, 24/7 across multiple time zones.


24-7-pic.jpgClearly, effective managers need to be effective managers of information. Because processing may take too much time, Toffler’s remarks suggest to me we need to consider human information—the ideas and communications we share every day—within the mix of getting access to the right information when it is needed and where it is needed. Now more than ever is the time for enterprises to ensure their decision makers have the timely information to make better business decisions when they need to be made. This means that unstructured data, a non-trivial majority of business information, needs to be indexed and made searchable as it is created.


As I see it, information optimization is the basis of powering the enterprise through “Third Wave” business competition. Organizations that will have the “right to win” will have as a core capability better-than-class access to current information for their decision makers.


Concrete measures to manage information management


Like other topics that we have been discussing in this series—converged infrastructure, hybrid delivery, and application transformation--there  are concrete measures that are needed to demonstrate we are moving our information technology and enterprises to third wave, ”instant-on” types of  business. The measurements below will help you show that you are creating the information reliability and availability needed to power “Third Wave” decision makers throughout the enterprise:


1)      Percentage of non-compliance with the data classification scheme. Where data can be structured or classified, it needs to be classified correctly because misclassification leads to misinformation or, worse yet, lack of information for the right decision maker. Having correct data models in the way the user wants to consume it is important.


2)      Percentage of successful data restorations. Being able to prove data availability to the business is really important. Testing and proving data restores means the data for decisions will be available when it is needed. Of course, this does not answer whether I have the right data, but this is a subject for an information architecture review.


3)      Percentage of tests that achieve recovery objectives. This goes a step further by asking about the quality of tests against the recovery objectives. Are the tests in fact good?


4)      The number of downtime incidents caused by insufficient storage capacity. A Third Wave business needs to be assured that the right data is at the right decision maker’s finger tips when they need it, regardless of location. This means information resilience. Information systems should not go down because of poor management of information management infrastructure.


5)      Number of downtime incidents and delays caused by deviating from operations procedures. Poor procedures affect information in a number of ways. It can make it vulnerable to hackers and viruses. It can, also, mean it is not backed-up in a timely fashion. These are an important quality measures for information age businesses.


Related links:

Solution Brief: Information Management       

Solution page: IT performance management

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About the Author


Mr. Suer is a senior manager for IT Performance Management. Prior to this role, Mr. Suer headed IT Performance Management Analytics Product Management including IT Financial Management and Executive Scorecard.


Good article, Myles.  This is a good complement to my piece on Adapting Tribal knowledge at an Enterprise Level 

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