Today’s organizations fundamentally revolve around people, processes and technologies. The underlying common thread across all of these areas is the ability to communicate and manage information. Information is used to make decisions that can be either good or bad. Based on the article Bad Decisions Arise from Faulty Information, Not Faulty Brain Circuits, we can decipher that sometimes in organizations there is so much information aka “noise” that decisions either get delayed or are made without understanding holistically how that information can affect the organization. Specifically, organizations need to understand the end-to-end flow of information through an Information Supply Chain lens and then leverage that information for competitive advantage. The concept of Information Supply Chain is derived from Supply Chain Management (SCM) that focuses on the coordinated and smooth flow of products. In the Information Supply Chain, we are interested in the coordinated and smooth flow of information within and across the organizations. In order to understand and take advantage of this Information Supply Chain, organizations need to ask the following 5 questions:
- Where does my information reside? (hint: it is not all documented)
- How is my information managed across people, processes, and technologies? (hint: look at your formal and informal information governance structures)
- How easily does information flow from when it is first created/consumed to how it is used to help me make decisions? (hint: think beyond information systems)
- What information you had in the past that resulted in good and bad decisions? (hint: hindsight is 20/20 only if you replicate the successes and reduce failures)
- What are you doing right now to avoid information duplication and increase information flow? (hint: capturing lessons learned is an exercise in futility if you cannot decipher intelligence from those lessons for your next endeavor)
Another thing to think about is…if we turn back the pages of time, we will realize that organizations are not that much different then what has existed in the past. The only thing that continuously changes is technology. Technology does not mean Information Technology(IT) only but also any methodologies and tools that make you manage information more effectively and scale-up quickly. A case in point is paper which changed the direction of mankind and was once considered a “technology”.