Information management is the handling of information in a way that makes access available to all who have a share in that information, or a right to that information.

Setting up, implementing and monitoring an efficient information management system, is an important element within the successful operations of your business.

You need to consider the following important questions concerning information management within your business:

  • How are you going to store the information gathered during, for example, Market Research?
  • Where are you going to store this information?
  • How are you going to retrieve this information when needed?
  • Who is going to have access to this information?
  • Do you need to monitor movement of information and if so, how will you do this?
  • How will you cross reference your stored information?
  • What quality and control procedures do you need to have in place?

Let us start by considering the components that make up a basic information management system. You will need to firstly evaluate the types of information you currently use and need, and then evaluate the most appropriate way to store and access this information. This will vary from business to business.

Data Resources

  • Alphabetic data.
  • Numeric data.
  • Text data.
  • Audio data.
  • Image data.

This raw data is typically stored in a database.

Hardware Resources
Software Resources
People Resources

Data management
is the management of an organization's data. The key activities of data management include the following:

  • Data collection.
  • Data organization.
  • Data storage.
  • Data integrity and data verification.
  • Data security.
  • Data retrieval.

Establishing sound data management processes and procedures from the start will enable you to professionally manage your interactions with your clients and suppliers.

Information security refers to the policies, procedures and technological tools used to safeguard all the components of information systems from:

  • Various hazards.
  • Unauthorized access.
  • Duplication.
  • Alteration.
  • Theft.
  • Physical damage.

Assuring the quality of your information is critical. The consequences of poor quality of information can be devastating, and can even threaten the very existence of your business.

If you have the wrong information about your target market, bad debtors, and finances you will make the wrong strategic decisions this will have a detrimental effect on your business.

By quality of data we are referring to the following:

  • Accuracy.
  • Completeness.
  • Consistency.
  • Sufficiency.

* Buy the SME Toolkit for more details about Information Management