Head in the cloud: Information management as a core asset to a business
In a world where information overload is a constant, information management is becoming a valued skill in companies – both big and small. To put it simply, information management is about finding ways to optimally use and access information within organisations.
Information management essentially makes it easier for employers to access information that helps support decision-making processes or day-to-day operations that require the availability of knowledge. It also utilises the connection of information and information-intensive process to drive innovation and help companies stay competitive with one another. Information, as always, is an important asset in any sort of business. 1
Unlocking the treasure box comprising information
The International Data Corporation (IDC) estimated that by 2020, the digital scape will comprise 44 trillion gigabytes worth of data and information. All of this information is not readily available. Instead, they reside in silos and businesses rarely possess the capabilities to master the information value chain, which is how data openness, interoperability and data portability interlock to add value to the available information and make it useful for service providers and their users. As such, with the wealth of information available, all it needs is proper processes and technology to unlock the information within and it can be utilised by the necessary stakeholders.
This growth of data in various platforms like social media is creating challenges for firms across many industries – but especially for financial services firms and other businesses in highly-regulated industries. One of these key challenges is that conventional IT infrastructures are not designed to keep up with the pressures of this new data-loaded environment. According to Bloomberg’s report on information management in the cloud, “organisations must now be able to save, store, archive, protect and access a more challenging class of information that ever before”. This is where the cloud comes in.
What is the cloud?
The Cloud may be one of the digital buzzwords that you may have heard time and time again in recent years. But what exactly is it? According to Salesforce, “the cloud refers to a model of internet-based computing or to the provision and use of services, software, platforms or infrastructure as a service”.2 This means that the structure of the cloud allow users to access various technology services through a web browser – independent of their geographic location.
With cloud computing, a career in information management is a more promising one because of its popularity and prevalence among most businesses. According to a study by the International Data Group, 69% of businesses are already using cloud technology. Additionally, Dell reported that companies that invested in big data, cloud, mobility and security rake in 53% more revenue than competitors who don’t.3
With cloud computing, information managements becomes much more than storing, managing and archiving information. It allows such professionals to more efficiently running their organisation by being able to access and activate the information and data at will. This helps companies give their customers a better experience, which can help improve overall profit margins.
With great cloud comes great information
Everyone knows knowledge is power – but in the age of cloud, that becomes even more accurate. Many cloud-based storage solutions offer integrated cloud analytics that enable professionals to form a bigger picture with the use of data. So data collected from customer transactions and business processes that were previously considered to be invaluable transforms into more actionable information that is simply waiting to be identified.
Information management professionals are therefore in a better position to add value to the company – and perhaps even offer insights to help change the company’s strategy or business models. With information stored in the cloud, it is now easier to implement tracking mechanisms and build customised reports to analyse information available throughout the organisation. With such actionable data, beverage company Sunny Delight was able to increase profits by about $2 million a year and cut $195,000 in staffing costs through cloud-based business insights.4
Mr Matthias Glowatz, a lecturer at UCD Lochlan Quinn School of Business says: “Being able to understand and utilise the cloud infrastructure for online data collection and analysis will be an essential skillset that IT professionals have to develop in order to draft strategic management decisions. They can also make recommendations that help the organisation gain and sustain competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace.”
It essentially helps such professionals empower companies and the workforce into looking for new strategies to improve growth. Information management professionals can usually do this without really affecting human and infrastructure resources as their roles can often include business intelligence, big data analytics, transactional systems and metadata management.
“Additionally – and due to the nature of cloud computing storing data in a virtual environment outside the organisation’s physical infrastructure, IT professionals need to demonstrate a deep understanding of data protection and data security ensuring proper handling and protection of the organisation’s data resources stored in the cloud,” adds Mr Glowatz.
Given that the economy is pushing companies to be actively involved in digitally transforming, information management professionals have a big role in determining the direction in which companies should move toward – and that in itself is empowering and will provide more opportunities for employees working in information management.
Be prepared for a future in IT. Enrol in the University College Dublin’s (UCD) Bachelor of Business Studies (Honours) in Digital Business (Full-time), Bachelor of Business Studies (Honours) in Digital Business (Part-time) or Masters of Science in Information Technology (Part-time).