Common enterprise information management strategy mistakes to avoid

What are some common mistakes that companies make in implementing an enterprise information management strategy and program?

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From my experiences, the most common mistakes that companies run into when first implementing an enterprise information management (EIM) program include the following:

No business involvement. For an EIM program to be successful, both business and IT involvement, and collaboration between the two groups, are required. The business representatives need to provide input on business strategy, directions and priorities. Business representation can be initiated through the data governance and stewardship framework component of an EIM program. But however it’s accomplished, business involvement should include participants from the strategic (i.e., corporate executives), tactical (business management) and operational (application and system experts) levels of the organization to obtain the full range of business experience and knowledge.

Ignoring foundational EIM framework elements. An EIM program needs to have three key foundational EIM framework components implemented, at some level, to be fully successful within an organization. That includes data governance and stewardship, information architecture and metadata management. These components typically should be focused on first, depending on an organization’s EIM maturity level, while still keeping a strategic EIM perspective going forward.

Creating a technology-focused EIM program. Some EIM initiatives are built around the implementation of technology – e.g., a business intelligence or master data management system. Such systems are enablers for a successful EIM program, typically in one EIM component area, but they should never be the basis of the initiative. An EIM program must be focused on supporting an organization’s overall data management strategy and providing measurable business value and cost reduction. It requires a comprehensive framework of organizational structure, internal standards, processes, metrics, education/communication and technology to manage a corporation’s data as an enterprise asset via EIM.

Treating EIM as a project. To realize the overall business benefits of an EIM initiative, an organization must treat it as a strategic program, not a one-time project. That means the organization must make ongoing commitments of time and resources to initiate, develop, implement and monitor the EIM program. And it must be willing to change in order to gain the benefits of EIM. A successful EIM program is one that over time is assimilated into the culture of the organization and becomes a normal part of doing business.

This was first published in June 2011

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