This is one question that every business leader must reflect upon. Information can be a big asset in the digital economy provided it is leveraged enough.
Information is the life blood of any organization, both in strategic and operational terms. The quality of any decision depends on the information behind it. Organizational outcomes in terms of innovation, competitive superiority and performance all need a matured information base i.e. ability to provide right information at the right time in the right manner.
Many organizations may not even be aware of the lack of this maturity.
In the digital age, every CEO must take a quick assessment of the following five aspects of information maturity in his or her respective organization-
#1 Information speed
How long does it take for you to get access to information you want? Is it available at the click of a button or does it take a long time as someone collates the information from multiple sources and gives it to you after putting it together? You can assess by being conscious of the time taken and process followed when next time you ask for some information. The faster it is available, the better purpose it serves.
#2 Information veracity
Whether the correct information is available for decision making is a big issue. How true is the information you obtain? Are you confident that it is not dated and it represents the truth on the ground? Though it is a function of speed, it is also a function of how it is collected and collated. Will it depend on who is collecting it and how is it being collected? Think of the ways in which the process can be made person independent, i.e. the truth must not depend on who sees it, rather the facts must remain the same.
#3 Information consistency
Many organizations face the problem of multiple versions of the truth. Does your organization have a single version of the truth coming from the same source or are multiple versions of truth float? I am sure when there are multiple versions of the truth, it highlights politics of numbers, which takes time and efforts to manage and reconcile.
#4 Information presentation
How is the information presented can have a big impact on how is it consumed. It can be presented in a static as well as a dynamic manner, giving the user more power to slide and dice the data for better visibility.
#5 Information level
Information can be relevant at different levels. It can be something which helps an individual look into the reality or it can be embedded in the automated processes thus creating smart processes. A set of smart processes can create functional capabilities, which can be strategically leveraged for gaining competitive advantage.
Quality information shall lead to better decision making and quality information comes when the core enterprise system is well mapped with the underlying processes. Discipline in collecting, collating and presenting information is at the core of organizational empowerment. It feeds the innovation spirit, even if at the face of it they may sound two opposite things. They are in a way two sides of the same coin.
Information can empower an organization at multiple levels – at individual levels for better decision making, at functional levels for increased capacity and at the organizational levels for edge giving capabilities.