IM or MI
This post was prompted when someone asked me what the difference was between IM and MI; i’ve had a great many conversations with people from various backgrounds and with various professional disciplines who hold a view on the (seemingly) endless terminology that is used to describe the various concepts for the management of information.
It got me to thinking about the usefulness of some clarity on the basic fundamental definitions of these management concepts and I thought that a blog article was just the thing for a basic exploration of these concepts and (hopefully) getting some discussion around the topic (because I am sure there are some conflicting opinions even amongst my most learned of friends)..
So, to get started, I did what most folk would do and headed off to wikipedia that provided me with the following definitions;
Records management (RM) is the practice of maintaining the records of an organisation from the time they are created up to their eventual disposal. This may include classifying, storing, securing, and destruction (or in some cases, archival preservation) of record.
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.
Data management (DM) is the development, execution and supervision of plans, policies, programs and practices that control, protect, deliver and enhance the value of data and information assets.
Management Information (MI) is the information that organisations need to manage themselves efficiently and effectively.
Business Intelligence (BI) is a set of theories, methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information. BI can handle large amounts of information to help identify and develop new opportunities. Making use of new opportunities and implementing an effective strategy can provide a competitive market advantage and long-term stability
Information Governance (IG) is an emerging term used to encompass the set of multi-disciplinary structures, policies, procedures, processes and controls implemented to manage information at an enterprise level, supporting an organization's immediate and future regulatory, legal, risk, environmental and operational requirements.
Information Assurance (IA) is the practice of assuring information and managing risks related to the use, processing, storage, and transmission of information or data and the systems and processes used for those purposes. Information assurance includes protection of the integrity, availability, authenticity, non-repudiation and confidentiality of user data. It uses physical, technical and administrative controls to accomplish these tasks
Information Security (sometimes shortened to InfoSec) is the practice of defending information from unauthorised access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, perusal, inspection, recording or destruction.
I recognise that there are more granular aspects that I could include in this list but I felt that these are the most recognisable terms that describe the management of information in the average organisational context or business environment.
What I find interesting is that each of these is talking about the management or use of information, in summary;
“plans or programs that seek to develop policies, procedures and processes to ensure a consistent approach to the classification / architecture, control, storage, security / protection, [managed] destruction, preservation and maintenance of information to enables its access and use”.
Obviously, Business Intelligence and Management Information are slightly different in that they are the business outputs of the management process, the benefits realised through the hard work required to implement consistent policies and standards for the information that is so essential to our contemporary business environment.
The one thing that struck me though is that regardless of whether talk is of data, information, records or archives, the core fundamentals of Records Management are universally relevant.
It seems to me that the essential criteria that all of these management disciplines seek to achieve are the assurance of
- availability/usability of information.
I think that the challenge for anyone working in the information space is to maintain focus on that overarching objective to gain assurance and have confidence in the information that we rely on in every aspect of our working life.