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Information  Management: are we there yet?

Monday 2 August 2021 | document management, information management, information governance

information management blog

Why would an industry that’s fighting for attention want to confuse you as well?

I’m talking about information management. Pause and read those last two words again because they’re easy to glance over without thinking what they actually mean.

Managing information. Sounds simple, except we’re not doing it. We’ve lost the war on information and the casualties continue to pile up.

According to Wikipedia, Information management (IM) is the collection and management of information from one or more sources and the distribution of that information to one or more audiences. Management means the organization of and control over the structure, processing, and delivery of information.

Managing information has been a problem since the written language but in the context of this blog, it’s been accelerating since the 80’s when the PC found its way into businesses. It took a while to replace and replicate the filing cabinet but it largely succeeded.

Every keyboard junkie became a filing clerk storing files anywhere and everywhere. Nothing has changed. We’re still in the folder mentality and we can never find information when we need it. We continue to replicate the old ways with digital equivalents today and this is presenting more opportunities to lose information.

Like every problem, there’s a solution. Somewhere. Maybe.

The information management industry has lots of software that can help. But like most software creators, their marketing teams use a bit too much poetic license when describing what they actually do. There’s money in complexity. Margin in mystery.

So let’s look at the software industry that promises to help us manage our information.

According to Wikipedia ECM, (Enterprise Content Management) is an umbrella term that covers document and records management, web content management, search, collaboration, records management, digital asset management (DAM), workflow management, and capture and scanning. It manages the life cycle of information, from initial publication (or creation) through archival and eventual disposal.

Too easy. We’ll have one of everything.

Over the years, most enterprise vendors in this space have found it too challenging to adapt their acquired legacy software to market shifts so instead, they acquire competitors as the easiest path to growth. Great if you’re an investor, terrible if you’re a customer or partner. I know. I’ve been there. It’s a mess.sharon-mccutcheon-tn57JI3CewI-unsplash

This is why so many ECM platforms are dying a slow death. They’re on life support waiting to be unplugged. They never reach the “enterprise”, just a couple of departments. Too much complexity, changes are too difficult, way too much cost, and upgrades are actually new platforms and can take years even with an army of engineers.

Did I mention they’re clunky too? All it takes is one or two mouse clicks and users will ignore that million-dollar system and revert to the old ways of doing things.

This is why the average information worker still spends several hours a week hunting for and collecting information.

So that’s the software industry, or most of it summed up.

Then there are the practitioners. These are the people that know about information and how it should be managed.

They just don’t know what to call themselves.

Just last week I upset an academic saying that Information Governance needs to be embedded into software. They immediately interviewed their keyboard and began a tirade of nonsense that Information Governance is a lie and it will be the end of the world. "Only records management can save the day!" they spouted. I imagined this person, frothing at the mouth with veins bulging in their neck.

So here we have well-intentioned people who can’t agree on what label to stick on their speciality. Is it Governance, Records, Knowledge, or simply Information Management? Or all of that?


The answer is, nobody cares. Too complicated. Thanks for the coffee. Back to C drive.

To all the vendors and practitioners in this industry peddling complexity. Go sell it somewhere else. If the industry is this confused, it's little wonder customers don't give it the attention it deserves.

So where do we fit into all this?

The team at PIQNIC are heroes of simplicity.

No jargon, no BS and you won’t need to do a capital raise to organise your information, teams, and work.

You can even call what we do whatever you like. We don't mind. What’s important is you just do it. 

- Aaron Cornelius, CEO - PIQNIC

If you want to modernise your way of working and bring your information, people and processes together in one place, PIQNIC is here to help. Get in touch to see how we can make it happen.


What's your experience of working in this area? Let us know in the comments below: