Information Management Fundamentals: Everything You Need To Know

By Jasmine Long
May 15, 2024
5 min read
Blog
Intranet

Did you know that the average person produces around 143 GB (gigabytes) of data daily? That’s enough data to watch the entire show of Last of Us and Fallout on Netflix (and Amazon Prime). Just imagine a company with 50 employees, each creating 143 GB of data on a daily basis. 

It’s no wonder information management is such an important topic today. Having that much data can benefit the company; you can better understand your customers, have more information about your competitors, and receive more product feedback. 

However, that only works if you can use that data effectively. 

What’s information management

Information management is the process by which the company collects, processes, stores, extracts, and archives data. Effective information management can be broken down into 5 stages and allows organizations to provide accurate and timely information to their teams.

  1. Data collection. This is where you gain inputs (collect information) to your system.
  2. Processing. You process the data so it fits/corresponds to your system. This stage prepares the data to be stored.
  3. Storage. You store the data on a secure system so it can only be used by the designated people/teams/departments. 
  4. Extraction. Data is only useful if it reaches the right people at the right time. So it’s essential that companies can easily extract the data from the storage systems. 
  5. Archiving. Once the information is no longer necessary to the system, you can archive it from the storage system. 

However, problems in the information management process can damage flow and turn teams into information silos. The problem becomes especially harmful to companies in the extraction phase — getting the right information to the right people at the right moment.  

Oftentimes, competing tools, legacy systems, and manual processes result in information getting siloed across departments, making information management inefficient. Let’s take a look at what information silos exactly are, how  they damage businesses, if you are  stuck in one, and how you can get out. 

What’s an information silo

An information silo is a situation where information, data, or knowledge a department makes, receives, or creates stays within that department and doesn’t get communicated across other teams, departments, or business units within that organization. 

They can be quite damaging for businesses, causing friction and hindering operations. Bad information management can cause human errors, provide out-of-date information, duplicate entries, lower productivity, negatively impact decision-making, limit growth, and set up barriers that prevent company-wide collaboration— basically everything you want to prevent in a business. 

Information silos are negative side-effects of information management, but there are ways to deal with them. As with any solution, the first thing is to pinpoint where the problem actually is. 

Are you stuck in an information silo?

There are three most common ways how companies (inadvertently) corrupt their information management processes and create silos: 

  • Legacy systems.If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Companies want new systems that can provide better results, but they don’t want to give up the old systems to do so. What ends up happening then is a disjointed juggling act of working between two systems. These silos are technological in nature, because the data is locked in systems, not in teams. 
  • Mergers and acquisitions. Once teams (or companies) merge, their tech stacks, systems, and cultures need to merge as well. That’s easier said than done. You would have to deal with “We’ve always done it this one” across the company, with multiple teams. This is a breeding ground for information mismanagement as teams need to learn new systems, new programs, new platforms, and new ways of doing things. 
  • Death of 1000 applications. According to the research done by Zylo in 2023, small companies have 172 apps, mid-size companies 255, and enterprises 664 apps in their tech stack. With this many apps across the organization, it can be easy to (inadvertently) manage information poorly. 

If you suspect that your company might have a problem with information management, but don’t fall under any of the above-mentioned scenarios, use the following checklist: 

  • Are your employees frustrated because they can’t access essential information?
  • Are you noticing duplicated tasks and efforts that lead to missed business opportunities because of a lack of communication?
  • Are you seeing delays because of barriers to collaboration? 
  • Can you access any information that’s produced by other teams? 
  • Is there transparency in the organization? 

How you can fix the problem

To dissolve information silos, requires a systematic execution. You can’t simply rely on people adding other employees to the email thread or remembering to send that crucial info to someone in the other department; it’s simply not a reliable solution and that won’t fix the problems in your information management. 

For consistency across the organization, you should look for good intranet solutions. They can help you solve the information silo problem in your organization. Some of the solutions that we provide to our clients to help combat information silos are: 

  • The diversified/global search option allows for easy finding of documents, file announcements, and more. 
  • Department sites balance the unique needs of each department while allowing for visibility across teams.
  • Discussion forums easily segment topics while allowing everyone to contribute. 
  • Announcements widgets seamlessly broadcast the latest news on the home screen, keeping everyone on the same page.

Success Story: We helped LOC CU (Credit Union) utilize the storyboard feature to highlight the most important news for each department so employees can find the events that are most relevant to them.

How Intranet Connections can help you improve information management

Intranet Connections can help you dissolve information silos. If you’re looking for more details on how to do that, check out our FREE webinar “Silos to Synergy: Bridging the Gap for Effective Collaboration” here! 

By Jasmine Long

Jasmine is passionate about harnessing the power of digital marketing to drive social impact. She previously was the Communications Assistant at Jumpstart Refugee Talent, a nonprofit dedicated to facilitating employment opportunities for refugees in Canada. She is currently the Marketing Coordinator for Intranet Connections!