Enterprise Information Management: the holistic reality of information at work in a hyper-connected age

Whereas the practice of information management has a long history and Enterprise Content Management is a well-known competency (and range of systems) too, Enterprise Information Management or EIM, is more recent. It started popping up about a decade ago as the focus in thinking shifted from the still isolated approach of (Enterprise) Content Management and classifications based on the formats of information, towards all information and the management of that information in an enterprise-wide way.

Even if there are ample definitions of EIM and the role of ECM within it (see ‘Defining information management versus content management‘) there still is a lot of discussion as to whether it even makes sense to keep talking about Enterprise Content Management amidst all the evolutions that have led to Enterprise Information Management which is a more recent phenomenon, practice and competency.

The most common view is that Enterprise Content Management, as an evolved practice and a set of systems, is at the core of Enterprise Information Management, be it in an evolved way. Several elements contributed to the shift of focus towards “all information” and the far broader Enterprise Information Management approach.

Enterprise Information Management framework - source The Belgian Railways Journey to Enterprise Information Management
Enterprise Information Management framework – source The Belgian Railways Journey to Enterprise Information Management

The origins and evolutions of terms and labels: information as the common denominator

It’s important to take a step back when wading through all the terms and competencies/practices regarding information.

In a 2014 article for CMSWire, Joe Shepley nailed it when saying that managing information assets (and we would add managing the information value chain) is one of a number of organizational core activities. Others include managing human assets and managing financial assets whereby it’s easy to see how in this day and age there is an increasing overlap with information asset management as in the end information plays a key role in, for instance, managing human assets as well.

If we add specific elements of human asset management and include customers and other stakeholders, the picture becomes even clearer: work, collaboration, employee engagement and enablement, customer engagement, you name it. Information assets are omnipresent in all of them. The other way around, information is created, shared and generated by, among others, humans. And one of the critical aspects of protecting information assets is, indeed, very human as well. The human aspect in fact is the first one you’ll see in any security strategy and most information security challenges are human in nature.

But even if the various tasks organizations have according to Joe overlap and can be complemented, his key point is that all the terms and acronyms we use within the broader scope of information asset management (Enterprise Content Management, Records Management, Enterprise Information Management, you name it) are labels.

Obviously, these labels and others such as Information Governance, Information Lifecycle Management have their own ‘history’ and evolutions (Joe focuses on the evolutions within ECM further in his post), specificities and meanings but the essence is that, even if there is no solution to manage ALL the information (how could you as information is everywhere?) it’s about the information. And what you can do with it.

Enterprise Information Management in evolution (and as an evolution)

Among the people who have been writing and thinking a lot about Enterprise Information Management is Ulrich Kampffmeyer, Managing Director and Owner of Germany-based PROJECT CONSULT.

In a presentation Kampffmeyer provides an excellent overview of the definitions, evolutions, frameworks and what he calls the eight general platform features for EIM. More coming soon. In the meantime, check out the presentation on SlideShare.