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In the Cloud: Innovating Information Management

Innovation is often about finding new ideas or applying existing ideas in new ways to bring about beneficial change. Innovation is not limited to the products and services in an enterprise, but also can be applied to business models and strategy, operations, or employee and partner enablement.

information managementCompanies are moving information-related functions to the cloud, in ways that supplement or replace systems inside the firewall. There is also the proliferation of data and content – more information – created in many cloud-based sites not under the control of the enterprise. But companies want and need all of this information -- and also need energetic ways to govern it all. 

It's likely that for most enterprises "knowledge is power"; information-led business innovation and competitiveness is becoming a recognized path for potential success. In parallel, in general services in the cloud are talked about more and more as enablers of innovation, as an agile, dynamic and cost-effective environment for new business direction and experimentation.


Timely, reliable information in the right hands is more essential as business cycles shorten and become more competitive. Information created in the cloud along with cloud services comprise a new platform for quickly sharing data and content that matters to the enterprise. Ensuring the open flow of reliable information to many teams in the enterprise anywhere-anytime is a positive move into innovation that will make a difference.

The nagging problems for information management stay the same, whether the repositories are in the cloud, on-premises, or in a hybrid flow based on the two:

  • No clear strategy for governance of distributed information sources
  • Extreme growth of information sources and systems, outpacing management approaches
  • Continuous need for integration between information sources, which often exist in silos
  • Continuous synchronization to eliminate redundancies and update information
  • Unreliable quality of information, content, data
  • Timeliness of information

The creation of content and data in cloud repositories has added complexity to ownership and the chain of custody. Enterprises that strongly manage complex chains of information ownership and usage, both internally and externally, will achieve advantage from all information assets.

Companies must take on the responsibility of monitoring vendors of cloud services to ensure that the vendor is meeting SLA provisions for security, privacy, backup and so on. This monitoring falls both to business users and IT groups. But companies must also develop comprehensive information governance plans to supplement what cloud service vendors provide.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

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